Three nominees confirmed for Justice posts

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Senators also confirmed Tony West, a lawyer for "American Taliban" John Walker Lindh, to lead the department's civil division and Christine Varney to head the antitrust division.

Breuer was confirmed by a vote of 88-0, Varney by 87-1 and West, 82-4.

The Senate also voted 73-17 to end a filibuster -- and allow a vote this week -- on the nomination of Christopher Hill to be ambassador to Iraq. Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., was critical of Hill's performance when the diplomat was the Bush administration's top negotiator with North Korea.

Justice Department officials said Breuer will remove himself from the Clemens investigation. A federal grand jury in Washington is investigating whether the baseball star lied when he told a congressional committee that he didn't use illegal performance-enhancing substances.

In his new job, Breuer will oversee prosecutions in many sensitive areas including public corruption. His confirmation comes just two weeks after an angry federal judge dismissed the corruption conviction of former Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens and took the rare step of ordering a criminal investigation into the prosecutors.

From 1997 to 1999 Breuer served as special counsel to Clinton. He defended the president in impeachment hearings and the investigation by independent counsel Kenneth Starr into Clinton's relationship with a White House intern.

West was among a team of lawyers who represented Lindh, who is serving a 20-year sentence for aiding Afghanistan's former Taliban government.

The Taliban soldier was captured in Afghanistan in November 2001 by U.S. forces sent to topple the regime after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

West has said he agreed to represent Lindh after he was assured the client did not take up arms against Americans or play a role in the Sept. 11 attacks.

West is a former federal prosecutor who once led the investigation of a major child pornography ring on the Internet. He also was co-chairman of President Barack Obama's fundraising committee.

Varney has led the Hogan & Hartson law firm's Internet practice group, providing advice on antitrust matters, privacy and intellectual property issues.

She was a commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission during the Clinton administration, specializing in Internet issues.

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