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U.S. Attorney for Utah Dee Benson, who is nominated to become Utah's fifth federal judge, expects the Senate to hold a confirmation hearing later this month or in July.

Utah's fifth federal judge position was created last year when Congress, in a push to cut down on crime and drug abuse, allocated 86 new spots for federal judges across the country. Utah received one at the insistence of Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah."Helping to fight drugs was one of the motivating factors behind creating the new judgeship," Benson said while in Washington Tuesday. But he also said there were other factors involved as well such as the Savings and Loan scandals.

"I think there was a general recognition by Congress that there was a need for more federal judges," he said.

He said he was told that congressional committees are currently doing background research on all of the newly appointed judges, and that as soon as that is done the confirmation hearing will be scheduled.

"I am just waiting to see what happens. If they say `yes,' I'm the new federal judge; if they say `no,' they will find someone else," Benson said.

Benson is a former top aide to Hatch and also was top assistant to Utahn Hal Christensen when he was the No. 2 man at the Justice Department.