Inside Politics

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says he has struck the first of several agreements needed to pass a four-year Patriot Act extension before three provisions expire at midnight Thursday.

The agreement to hold a test vote Thursday morning is the first progress all week in a standoff between Senate leaders and Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, who opposes the Patriot Act. Mr. Paul has stalled the renewal, saying he wanted Mr. Reid to make good on a promise to allow debate on amendments. Mr. Reid said there was no time for that.

Congress is under unusual pressure to quickly extend the law, designed to help the government find terrorists on American soil. Once passed by the House and Senate, the extension must be flown to Europe for President Obama’s signature.

NEVADA

Angle to stay on sidelines of special election for House

CARSON CITY — Sharron Angle, who has been backed by the tea party movement, took herself out of the running Wednesday for Nevada’s special election for the U.S. House and called a recent court ruling on how candidates will be chosen an ?illegitimate process? that disenfranchises voters.

Mrs. Angle said in a statement that a judge’s ruling that the central committees for Nevada’s major political parties must pick their candidates for the Sept. 13 ballot makes a mockery of free elections. Although that ruling is under appeal, the Nevada Supreme Court isn’t expected to make a decision until late June.

“Cleary, no solution that the Supreme Court can make will correct the injury to free and open elections caused by ambiguous laws and subsequent lawsuits,” Mrs. Angle said.

Mrs. Angle, a former state Assembly member, overcame a crowded Republican field last year in her U.S. Senate race, but lost to Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat who was a prime target of the GOP.

WHITE HOUSE

Liu calls it quits in quest for judgeship

Goodwin Liu, a polarizing Obama administration judicial candidate, has asked the president to withdraw his nomination from consideration for an appeals court judgeship after his bid was blocked last week in the Senate by a Republican filibuster.

Mr. Liu, in a letter sent Wednesday to President Obama, said that “with no possibility of a up-or-down vote on the horizon, my family and I have decided that it is time for us to regain the ability to make plans for the future.”

“In addition, the Judicial Council of the 9th Circuit has noted the ‘desperate need for judges’ to fill current vacancies, and it is now clear that continuing my nomination will not address that need any time soon.”

Republicans said they opposed Mr. Lius nomination because they worried the University of California at Berkeley law professor would be an liberal activist judge who would play fast and loose with the Constitution from the bench. They also cited statements he has made suggesting support for affirmative action and gay marriage as individual rights.

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