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Senate confirms Obama's Tax Court judges without a fight

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Senate has confirmed President Barack Obama's two most recent Tax Court judicial nominees, Michael Thornton and Joseph Nega, allowing Obama to deepen his imprint on the powerful but obscure court.

Obama has now appointed five judges to the court, which can have up to 19 members. The court handles about 90 percent of the tax disputes between the U.S. Internal Revenue Service and businesses or individuals that end up in court.

Thornton and Nega were confirmed on Thursday night by a voice vote of the Senate.

Thornton was already a Tax Court judge whose term expired in March. Nega was a longtime tax lawyer at the congressional Joint Committee on Taxation.

Earlier this week, Obama also nominated a sixth judge, Paige Marvel, to the Tax Court. If confirmed, Marvel would increase to nine the number of Tax Court judges nominated by Democratic presidents. The other nine were nominated by Republican presidents. The judges serve 15-year terms.

(Reporting by Patrick Temple-West; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and Peter Cooney)

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