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Robert Bacharach's Tenth Circuit Nomination Held Up in Senate

By Robyn Hagan Cain on June 15, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert E. Bacharach has support from his home state senators and a "unanimously well qualified" rating from the American Bar Association, but he doesn't have enough Republican support in the Senate to be confirmed for the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals before November, reports The Oklahoman.

President Obama nominated Judge Bacharach to fill Judge Robert Henry's vacancy on the Tenth Circuit in January. At the time, Oklahoma's senators, Jim Inhofe and Tom Coburn, expressed their support for Bacharach's nomination. Sen. Inhofe told The Oklahoman, "I like the guy ... it's not very often the White House and I agree on anything."

Judge Bacharach — originally from Clarksdale, Mississippi — attended the University of Oklahoma (BA, ‘81) and Washington University School of Law (JD, ‘85), where he graduated Order of the Coif and was as an editor of the Washington University Law Quarterly.

He clerked for Tenth Circuit Judge William J. Holloway, Jr., for two years before moving into private practice at Crowe & Dunlevy, P.C. in Oklahoma City, and he’s taught pretrial civil litigation at the University of Oklahoma School of Law as an adjunct professor. President Bill Clinton appointed Judge Bacharach as a federal magistrate judge in 1999.

So how did Judge Bacharach’s nomination go from “I like the guy” to judicial limbo? It’s nothing personal; the selection and confirmation process just took too long.

After Obama nominated Bacharach in January, it took more than three months to schedule a committee hearing for Bacharach while Senate staff conducted a background investigation. After the Senate voted to confirm Arizona Supreme Court Justice Andrew Hurwitz for a seat on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told Republican senators there would be no other votes on circuit judges this year, The Oklahoman reports.

The delaying tactic is a common practice for the party that doesn’t control the White House; the goal is to delay making lifetime appointments to federal courts in hopes their party will win the White House and the power to nominate judges.

But that doesn’t mean that Judge Bacharach won’t be seated on the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in the future. Coburn told The Oklahoman that Bacharach could be cleared late this year if President Barack Obama wins re-election. If Mitt Romney wins the White House, Coburn thinks Bacharach would make a great nominee for a Republican president.

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