NORMAN — The Senate confirmed Robert Bacharach to the United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in Oklahoma on Monday. Bacharach was approved overwhelmingly by a vote of 93-0. He will fill one of four vacancies.
Bacharach was supported by the two Republican senators from Oklahoma, having been recommended to the White House for this judgeship by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Muskogee, in October 2011. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Tulsa, also supported Bacharach for the position.
“Judge Bacharach has distinguished himself throughout his education and career as a competent legal scholar and is well qualified to serve on the federal appellate court,” Inhofe said. “His multiple years of litigation experience and public service as a federal magistrate for the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma will serve him well in his new position on the 10th Circuit.
“As with all positions that come with a lifetime appointment, the deliberations over filling the vacancy can take time. But I am glad to see Judge Bacharach receive his well-deserved confirmation as a judge on the 10th Circuit Court of the United States.”
Last summer, Bacharach, a University of Oklahoma graduate, became the focus of political wrangling between Republicans and Democrats when Senate Republicans blocked his confirmation to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.
At that time Inhofe and Coburn voted “present” rather than confirming the nomination. It was the first successful filibuster of a judicial nominee who had bipartisan support in the Senate Judiciary Committee, according to a White House press release.
Bacharach was a non-controversial nominee, but GOP senators cited a long-held tradition that no confirmations be approved in the months before a presidential election.
In a White House press release, Jennifer Palmieri, White House director of communications, said Bacharach’s case is not unique.
“On Feb. 13, the Senate confirmed William Kayatta for the First Circuit from Maine. His nomination languished for 300 days, yet he was easily confirmed with 88 senators supporting him. And next up is Richard Taranto for the Federal Circuit, whose nomination has been pending for 333 days,” Palmieri wrote.
Palmieri said the average wait time for President George W. Bush’s federal appellate judicial nominees, from committee vote to confirmation, was 35 days.
“By contrast, the average wait time for President Obama’s federal appellate judicial nominees has been 147 days,” she said.
Bacharach received his B.A. from OU in 1981, graduating with high honors, and received his J.D. from Washington University School of Law in 1985, graduating in the top 10 percent of his class.
Upon receiving his law degree, he clerked for two years for Judge William J. Holloway Jr. on the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.
For 12 years, from 1987-1999, Bacharach worked in private practice for the firm Crowe & Dunlevy. He left the firm in 1999 and became a federal magistrate judge for the Western District of Oklahoma.
Currently, 14 judicial nominees are pending before the Senate, according to the White House.