The U.S. Senate confirmed Oregon Judge Danielle Hunsaker to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.  

Hunsaker is currently the presiding judge for Washington County Circuit Court.  

Oregon’s Democratic U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley were split on the vote, with Wyden voting for Hunsaker’s confirmation and Merkley voting against it.  

In a statement last week, Merkley said the lifetime appointment for the position should be reserved for someone with more experience.

Hunsaker was confirmed with a 73-17 vote. 

Carl Tobias, with the University of Richmond’s School of Law, said this strong of a vote is somewhat rare for appellate judges. 

“A lot of these, especially the appellate court, nominees are controversial, and so they often get something close to a party line vote,” Tobias said. “This is a strong vote and I think that means that they have confidence in her and that she wasn’t controversial.”

As far as Wyden and Merkley being split on the confirmation vote, Tobias said that’s not out of the ordinary. 

“It does happen,” he said, “especially given the independence of those two senators. I can imagine they don’t agree on everything.”

Tobias said Hunsaker could be sworn in sometime this week. 

Hunsaker had been appointed to the Washington County Circuit Court by Oregon Gov. Kate Brown in 2017. A replacement for Hunsaker has not yet been named.