Full court press

In announcing
his selection, Obama called Robert Bacharach, a U.S. magistrate judge in
the Western District of Oklahoma, an “outstanding candidate” who will
“serve the American people with integrity and distinction.”

The
52-year-old Bacharach unanimously received a “well qualified” rating
from the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on the Federal
Judiciary, that panel’s highest ranking.

“Anyone
who appeared before him would say he’s a fair and impartial judge, even
though they might not agree with his decision,” said federal Magistrate
Judge Doyle Argo, who serves alongside Bacharach. “He’s not only a
colleague, but a friend — somebody that it’s nice to bounce legal
thoughts and legal ideas off of when we have difficult issues we’re
facing. We will miss him.”

Bacharach,
whose nomination must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate, has the support
of several members of Oklahoma’s congressional delegation.

“He
is a great guy, and I like him,” said U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe. “It is a
rare occasion that I agree with anything President Obama does, but I do
agree with this nomination.”

His sentiments were echoed by U.S. Rep. Dan Boren, who said Bacharach “will bring a wealth of experience to the position.”

Bacharach would replace Robert Henry, who stepped down in 2010 to become president and CEO of Oklahoma City University.

“I
was disappointed it has taken so long [to find a successor] because I
gave a full six-months notice to the administration,” said Henry.

Previously,
U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn reportedly blocked the 10th Circuit nomination of
Janet Levit, dean of the University of Tulsa’s law school, because of
her international law background.

Although
Coburn, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, declined comment,
spokeswoman Becky Bernhardt said the senator “has heard good things
about Robert Bacharach from Oklahomans and is impressed with his
credentials.”

Henry said he is also impressed with his would-be successor.

“He is a great worker. He has a great temperament — very important for a judge,” he said.

Robert
Bacharach received his bachelor’s degree from the University of
Oklahoma and his law degree from Washington University in St. Louis. He
practiced law with the Crowe & Dunlevy law firm in OKC.

The 10th Circuit encompasses Oklahoma, Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.

Henry added he had a bit of advice for Bacharach.

“Get prepared to spend a lot of time reading late at night,” he said.

Editor’s note: Robert Bacharach is brother of Oklahoma Gazette editor-in-chief Phil Bacharach.

Amy Lester

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