Washington • The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday advanced the nomination of David Barlow to be a judge for the federal district court in Utah.

By a 19-3 vote, the committee recommended Barlow be confirmed by the full Senate.

Lee on Thursday lavished praise on Barlow, whom he has known since they attended the American Legion’s Boys Nation as teens and later in classes at Brigham Young University.

Lee and Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, support the nomination.

“We have full confidence that David will serve Utah and the country with honor and integrity, faithfully applying the law and our Constitution to all matters and parties that come before him,” Lee and Romney said in a joint statement. “We urge our colleagues to enthusiastically support his confirmation when he comes before the Senate for a vote.”

That's likely to happen this year.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been rushing through confirmations for district and appellate court nominees and, while some controversial picks have been shelved or delayed, Barlow appears to enjoy wide support.

“I expect that the Senate will grant Barlow a debate and confirmation vote this year and that he will easily win confirmation with a number of Democrats' votes because he is a well qualified, mainstream experienced nominee,” said Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond.

The only opposition to his nomination came from three Democrats: Sens. Amy Klobuchar, Cory Booker and Kamala Harris, all of whom are running for president and voted by proxy Thursday.

If confirmed, Barlow would replace Judge Clark Waddoups, who has taken senior status, meaning he hears fewer cases now.