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Podesta among picks for service board

President Obama is nominating John Podesta, a key political ally, to serve on the board that helps set policies and direction for the government’s national service agency, the White House announced Thursday.

Mr. Podesta, who guided Mr. Obama through the presidential transition process, is among seven people Mr. Obama picked to be on the bipartisan board of directors for the Corporation for National and Community Service.

Mr. Podesta served as President Clinton’s chief of staff. He heads the Center for American Progress, a liberal public policy group that he helped create in 2003 to counteract conservative think tanks.

SUPREME COURT

ABA: Kagan ‘well qualified’

The nation’s largest lawyers group is calling Solicitor General Elena Kagan well qualified for the Supreme Court.

The American Bar Association wrote senators Thursday giving Ms. Kagan its highest rating. Kim J. Askew, the chairman of the committee that reviewed Ms. Kagan’s qualifications, says it reached its conclusion unanimously, with one person abstaining.

The rating comes just days before Ms. Kagan is to go before the Senate Judiciary Committee for high-stakes confirmation hearings.

COURTS

Judge won’t stay drilling-ban ruling

NEW ORLEANS | A federal judge who overturned a six-month moratorium on deep-water drilling imposed after the Gulf oil spill refused Thursday to put his ruling on hold while the government appeals.

The Justice Department had asked U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman to delay his ruling until the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans can review it. Judge Feldman rejected that request Thursday.

On Tuesday, he struck down the Interior Department’s moratorium that halted approval of new permits for deep-water projects and suspended drilling on 33 exploratory wells. Judge Feldman concluded the government simply assumed that because one deep-water rig went up in flames, others were dangerous, too.

The moratorium was imposed after the offshore oil rig Deepwater Horizon exploded April 20, killing 11 workers. Oil has been gushing from the blown-out well ever since.

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