Vote on Oklahoma nominee
for federal court is delayed
WASHINGTON — Senate Republicans, who delayed a vote for several months last year on federal appeals court nominee Robert E. Bacharach, kept him from advancing Thursday out of the same committee that overwhelmingly approved him last summer.
Bacharach and two other nominees were on Thursday's agenda of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Sen. Charles Grassley, of Iowa, the top Republican on the panel, asked that the votes be delayed for a week.
Bacharach, a federal magistrate judge in Oklahoma City, has been waiting for more than a year for confirmation to the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, one of the federal courts a step below the U.S. Supreme Court.
The seat for which Bacharach has been nominated has been vacant since July 2010.
Bacharach sailed through the committee last year but his nomination got caught up in election-year politics, as Senate Republicans blocked votes on circuit court nominees and many district court nominees.
President Barack Obama renominated Bacharach in January, along with numerous others who were blocked by Republicans last year.
Senate Republicans did not require that another hearing be held for Bacharach and the other two nominees on Thursday's agenda, but Grassley still invoked his right to delay the vote.
Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., chairman of the committee, complained that the posts the nominees were chosen to fill had been vacant for two years.
“We have got to do something better,'' Leahy said, adding that Republicans were delaying “qualified people'' who had already been approved by the committee.
Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Muskogee, who supports Bacharach's nomination, predicted earlier this week that Bacharach would be confirmed by the full Senate within a few weeks and that he would push for a vote on him.
Chris Casteel, Washington Bureau