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Washington • The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday advanced Utah Supreme Court Justice Jill Parrish closer to a seat on the federal bench.

The committee voted unanimously in a voice vote to approve Parrish, who President Barack Obama has appointed to fill a vacancy on the federal district court in Utah. She now awaits full Senate confirmation.

Sens. Mike Lee and Orrin Hatch, Utah Republicans and members of the Judiciary Committee, supported Parrish's nomination.

"She is at the top of the legal profession, has outstanding legal ability, and possesses the highest reputation for integrity," Hatch said.

Parrish would replace Judge Dee Benson who has taken senior judge status, which means he can hear fewer cases. She was appointed to the Utah Supreme Court in 2003 by Gov. Mike Leavitt.