updated 1/24/2008 9:13:59 AM ET 2008-01-24T14:13:59

President Bush renominated Steven G. Bradbury as assistant attorney general Wednesday, refusing to yield to Democrats who oppose a permanent job for the official who signed legal memos authorizing harsh interrogations for suspected terrorists.

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Bradbury has been serving as acting chief of the Justice Department's Office of Legislative Counsel. Bush wants the Senate to confirm Bradbury as permanent head of the office.

Senate Democrats complain that two secret memos from Bradbury in 2005 authorized the CIA to use head slaps, freezing temperatures and waterboarding — a practice that invokes drowning fears — when questioning terrorism detainees.

The memo controversy left Bradbury with no confirmation hearing before senators began a four-week break in December.

Concerned that Bush might use his constitutional authority to avoid the Senate confirmation process by appointing Bradbury during the holiday recess, senators scheduled 11 brief pro forma sessions to keep the Senate technically in session.

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