Carl Tobias, a University of Richmond law professor who studies and comments on the federal judicial appointment process, thinks Obama will avoid potential obstacles from Republican senators this year.
“I'm sure that Bacharach will be confirmed soon,” Tobias said.
He said Sens. Tom Coburn and Jim Inhofe “didn't want to buck the GOP leadership” in the closing weeks of the 2012 congressional session.
For the president to have his nominees for the Kansas, Utah and Wyoming spots confirmed, it will be critical for the president's advisers to consult with Republican senators from those states before making nominations, Tobias said.
“I think that Obama can fill these vacancies,” just as he has filled large numbers of vacancies in other federal circuit courts, the professor said.
“The 10th Circuit Court may change because as Justice (Byron) White used to say of the United States Supreme Court, one new justice changes the dynamics,” Tobias said.
Four new 10th Circuit judges will be a third of the active judges.
“So much will depend on who the appointees are,” Tobias said.
“I would expect the president's other nominees to be like Matheson and Bacharach — well-qualified, mainstream jurists — who will decide each case as it arises on the merits,” the professor said.