WASHINGTON — Robert E. Bacharach's nomination for the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals cleared a Senate committee on Thursday for the second time in eight months, setting up what could be a quick confirmation vote after months of Republican stalling.
The Senate Judiciary Committee approved Bacharach, a U.S. magistrate judge in Oklahoma City, without dissent, sending his nomination to the full Senate.
Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Tulsa, applauded the committee vote and said, “I look forward to giving him my firm support when his vote comes before the Senate.”
Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Muskogee, said recently that he would push for a quick Senate vote on Bacharach, and he predicted there would be one.
Bacharach, 53, has heard more than 3,000 criminal and civil cases in Oklahoma's western district federal court, and he received the highest rating from the American Bar Association.
However, after clearing the Judiciary Committee last June, Bacharach's nomination got caught up in presidential politics, as Republicans blocked votes on circuit judge nominees in hopes that Mitt Romney would win the White House and make his own nominations.
Bacharach's nomination effectively died when the last Congress adjourned, but President Barack Obama quickly resubmitted the nomination. The committee did not require Bacharach — or two other nominees cleared Thursday — to appear at another hearing.
About the court
The 10th Circuit Court is one of the federal appeals courts a step below the U.S. Supreme Court; it hears cases from Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and New Mexico. The seat for which Bacharach has been nominated has been open since July 2010.
Oklahoma City attorney Dan Webber, a former U.S. attorney who traveled to Washington last year to ask Republicans to allow votes on Bacharach and other nominees, said Thursday, “I appreciate the behind-the-scenes work our senators did to get Judge Bacharach's nomination back through the committee this early in the new session.
“I look forward to his confirmation by the full Senate very soon.”