Washington Kansas' top federal prosecutor got a warm reception Tuesday from a Senate panel considering him for a seat on the federal bench in Wichita.
U.S. Attorney Eric Melgren assured the Senate Judiciary Committee that he would be fair and impartial if confirmed as a U.S district judge in the final days of the Bush administration.
Melgren, 51, was one of five judicial nominees to appear before the panel at a brief hearing that was noteworthy for being conducted just six weeks before a presidential election. The committee is expected to vote on the nominees Thursday.
While Melgren and the other nominees - three from Pennsylvania and one from Virginia - are not expected to face opposition, it's not clear whether enough time is left for the full Senate to consider their nominations before President Bush leaves office.
Congress is expected to recess for the November elections this week or next, and lawmakers may return for a brief session before year end.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, said he was holding "this exceptional hearing" as a favor to Republicans on the panel, even though similar treatment had not been accorded to Democratic presidents when the committee was under GOP leadership.