He was nominated by President Barack Obama for the appeals court vacancy in January 2012, and he easily cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee in early June.
But his nomination got caught up in election-year politics as Senate Republicans refused to allow votes on circuit court nominees in hopes that Mitt Romney would win the White House and replace Obama's nominations with his own.
Senate Democrats tried unsuccessfully in July to break the Republican filibuster of Bacharach's nomination. Despite strong support for Bacharach's nomination, Coburn and Inhofe voted “present,” officially declining to take a stand, but effectively refusing to help break the filibuster.
After the November election, Senate Republicans refused to allow a vote on circuit court nominations in the lame duck session before the last Congress ended, forcing Obama to resubmit Bacharach's name, along with others whose confirmations had been blocked.
Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said the “unprecedented filibuster” by Senate Republicans had deprived states in the 10th circuit of a full appeals court for several months.
Leahy said Republicans had stalled votes on other judicial nominees, who were later confirmed overwhelmingly.
“It's Alice in Wonderland,” he said.
I have never met anybody who knows the Constitution — its limitations, its intent — better than Judge (Robert E.) Bacharach.”
Sen. Tom Coburn,