SALT LAKE CITY -- The U.S. Senate has confirmed Salt Lake City attorney Robert Shelby for a federal judgeship in Utah.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, who recommended Shelby for the lifetime appointment, on Saturday praised the confirmation and said Shelby will be a welcome addition to the federal judiciary.

"Bob is a good man who has studied our laws inside and out, and he's going to make a great addition to our District Court in Utah," Hatch said in a statement. "He's a hard worker who's given his time in public service and defended the law in private practice as well."

Senators confirmed the appointment on a voice vote late Friday before adjourning until after Election Day.

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, was the only member of the Judiciary Committee to vote against the nominee in committee.

Lee said his "no" vote was to protest President Barack Obama's controversial recess appointments made in January. But Lee said he supports Shelby for the post and believes he'll make an outstanding judge.

Federal court officials earlier this summer deemed the Utah vacancy a judicial emergency.

A clerk for Chief Judge Ted Stewart in Utah earlier this year said the court has only three active judges. Four others have taken senior judge status, meaning they handle a lighter caseload.

Shelby is a partner at the Salt Lake City law firm of Snow, Christensen and Martineau. He is a Utah State University graduate who received a law degree in 1998 from the University of Virginia School of Law. He clerked for the late U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Greene in Utah and then went into private practice.

He has served on the Utah Supreme Court's Advisory Committee on Rules of Civil Procedure and its Ethics and Discipline Committee.

Shelby also served in the Utah Army National Guard from 1988 to 1996 and was a combat engineer during Operation Desert Storm.

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