Judicial nominees from Oklahoma headed for U.S. Senate committee vote

Senate Judiciary Committee sets Thursday vote for Robert E. Bacharach, of Edmond, for a post on a federal appeals court and John E. Dowdell, of Tulsa, for a U.S. district judgeship.
by Chris Casteel Published: May 23, 2012

— Two Oklahomans nominated for federal judgeships were headed for a Senate committee vote Thursday after answering written questions from senators to supplement those asked at a public hearing two weeks ago.

The Senate Judiciary Committee has placed the names of Robert E. Bacharach, nominated for a seat on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and John E. Dowdell, nominated for a district judge post in Tulsa, on the agenda for its Thursday meeting.

Bacharach, a federal magistrate judge in Oklahoma City, and Dowdell, a Tulsa attorney, were questioned by committee members on May 9, and both breezed through the hearing. If the two are approved by the committee, the full Senate must approve their nominations.

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, a committee member who did not attend the hearing, sent written questions to each about their general philosophies and about some specifics.

Grassley asked Bacharach about three cases in which prison inmates sued corrections employees. Grassley said the cases appeared to be “frivolous and harassing” and noted that district judges had rejected Bacharach's recommendations and dismissed the cases.

In reply, Bacharach said exhibits and legal arguments were presented by the defendants in two of the cases after he made his report.

“Although I respect the district judges' contrary decisions, I continue to believe that my analysis in all three cases was correct based on the briefs and evidence that had been presented to me,” he wrote.

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by Chris Casteel
Washington Bureau
Chris Casteel began working for The Oklahoman's Norman bureau in 1982 while a student at the University of Oklahoma. After covering the police beat, federal courts and the state Legislature in Oklahoma City, he moved to Washington in 1990, where...
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