[JURIST] Former top Senate staff lawyer Thomas Griffith [DOJ biography] won bipartisan support Thursday from the Senate Judiciary Committee [official website], putting him in line to become the first of President Bush's second term appellate nominees to be confirmed. The Committee voted 14-4 to send Griffith's nomination for a seat on the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia [official website] to the full Senate. Four Democratic senators voted in favor of Griffith, which would bring the final confirmation vote to 59, one shore of the 60 needed to avoid a filibuster. Democrats have blocked 10 of Bush's 52 appeals court nominees through the use of the filibuster. If confirmed, Griffith would take the place of blocked nominee Miguel Estrada [DOJ biography]. Several Democrats oppose Griffith because of his disregard for bar rules in Utah where he practiced without a license and the District of Columbia where he lost his license for a failure to pay bar dues. Opponents also cite his alleged hostility toward Title IX [text], the federal law against sex discrimination in college athletics. Griffith will most likely get the requisite votes in the Senate as Democrats have tended not to threaten filibusters on judicial nominees that can get Democratic votes. AP has more.