The Senate unanimously cleared two judicial nominees and lined up floor votes on two more in a continued effort to clear the backlog of names still pending on the executive calendar.
Susan Nelson of Minnesota and Denise Jefferson Casper of Massachusetts were confirmed to district court posts on Friday night. Two others, 4th Circuit nominee Albert Diaz and district court nominee Ellen Lipton Hollander, are scheduled to be voted on during the Senate's rare Saturday session.
The chamber will also cast procedural votes on the DREAM Act and legislation to repeal the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy on Saturday.
The Senate also passed a short-term continuing resolution to keep the government funded through Tuesday until a long-term solution is figured out in both chambers.
All the nominees have been pending for several months. There are 34 nominees still awaiting confirmation.
Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) have been in continued talks over the past several weeks to determine how to move those judicial nominations and the dozens of President Barack Obama's nominees who remain in limbo.
Republican aides and Judiciary Committee ranking member Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) have predicted many of the lagging judicial nominees will win confirmation before the Senate adjourns for the year. But some of those appointed by Obama remain too controversial to be confirmed without a floor fight — an event unlikely to occur this late in the year. Those nominees include Goodwin Liu, nominated to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, and district court nominees Louis Butler, Edward Chen and John McConnell.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.