President Barack Obama has nominated Oklahoma City jurist Robert Bacharach to a seat on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver. Where have we heard this before?
Actually, it also happened a year ago. Obama first nominated Bacharach to the seat in January 2012, but the nomination fell victim to the silly games U.S. senators play just to make a point.
Recap: A 10th Circuit seat that's traditionally gone to an Oklahoman has stood vacant since the middle of 2010, when Robert Henry stepped down to become president of Oklahoma City University. Obama first considered nominating someone from outside the state. Our congressional delegation balked. Later it appeared University of Tulsa law school dean Janet Levit would be nominated, but buy-in from home state senators is crucial to the process and Republican Sen. Tom Coburn nixed that.
Coburn then asked former Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Turpen for a list of potential Democratic nominees. Bacharach was among them. Obama nominated him and Bacharach in May won easy approval from the Senate Judiciary Committee.
But the full Senate never voted on the nomination because Republicans held it up, hoping for a change in the presidency after the November elections. Democrats have done the same thing through the years when Republicans have been in office. This doesn't make it right, and Coburn and Sen. Jim Inhofe disappointed many when they chose to play along and put party above all else while simultaneously professing their strong support of Bacharach.
Coburn has called Bacharach, a U.S. magistrate judge, the best appellate court nominee he's seen during his eight years in the Senate. He should now act to move Bacharach's second nomination along as quickly as possible in order to finally reward a good man who deserved better, and to fill a seat that has been vacant far too long.