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Madison attorney James Peterson nominated for federal judgeship

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Madison attorney James Peterson has been nominated for a federal judgeship that's been vacant for four years, due to political bickering. 

President Obama named Peterson Thursday to replace the late John Shabaz in a federal district court that serves the western half of Wisconsin.  

Peterson is a shareholder in the law firm of Godfrey and Kahn. He was one of three candidates recommended by the state's two U.S. senators and a bipartisan nominating commission. 

Senate Democrat Tammy Baldwin said Peterson would make an excellent judge. 

The post has been vacant since 2009, as Obama tried four times to get the Senate to confirm former State Supreme Court Justice Louis Butler.

Each nomination got tied up in a Senate committee, where Democrats hailed Butler's qualifications while Republicans questioned them -- especially after he lost a Supreme Court election in 2008.

Butler later became a law instructor at UW-Madison.

Judge Shabaz died last year.