WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama on Monday nominated Robert E. Bacharach, a federal magistrate judge in Oklahoma City, for a position on the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, ending for now a long-running White House effort to replace Robert H. Henry on the Denver-based court.
Bacharach, a Mississippi native, has been a U.S. magistrate judge since 1999 for the Western District of Oklahoma and has handled nearly 3,000 criminal and civil matters, according to the White House.
Dan Webber, formerly the U.S. attorney for the Western District, said Monday, “Judge Bacharach is an extraordinarily qualified nominee for the appellate court.
“Having appeared before him in both criminal and civil cases, I can say from experience he is very smart, very focused and always asks the right questions about the law and facts … I hope he is confirmed quickly.”
‘I like the guy,' Inhofe says
It appeared Monday that Bacharach might clear an initial hurdle toward confirmation — agreement from his home-state senators for the Senate Judiciary Committee to hold a hearing for him.
Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Tulsa, praised the selection.
“I like the guy,” Inhofe said. “I told him that it's not very often the White House and I agree on anything.”
A spokeswoman for Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Muskogee, said Monday that Coburn wanted to review the full background report from the FBI and Judiciary Committee. But she said the senator believes Bacharach “has many excellent credentials and comes highly recommended from lawyers and judges in Oklahoma.”
One of those lawyers is Mike Turpen, of Oklahoma City, who sent Bacharach's name to Coburn last year after it became clear that Coburn didn't want the White House to nominate Janet Levit, the dean of the University of Tulsa law school, who was being vetted for the position.
In an interview with The Oklahoman in September, Turpen, a former state attorney general and longtime Democratic fundraiser, said Coburn asked him to send him a list of names for consideration for the 10th circuit position, which has been vacant since July 2010 when Robert Henry resigned to become president of Oklahoma City University.