Coburn considers Tulsa judge nomination dead
BY JIM MYERS World Washington Bureau
Thursday, February 17, 2011
3/19/11 at 10:06 AM
WASHINGTON -- U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn said Thursday that he viewed the nomination of Arvo Mikkanen to be the next federal judge in Tulsa as dead and urged the White House to withdraw it.
Coburn declined to elaborate on earlier comments in which he described Mikkanen as unacceptable for the post.
"No comment on that,'' the Oklahoma Republican said.
When asked whether he knew Mikkanen, who currently serves as an assistant U.S. attorney in Oklahoma City, Coburn paused and then replied: "I know plenty. I have no comment.''
Coburn said he has talked with President Obama's staff about other "qualified'' candidates for the job.
As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which handles judicial nominations, Coburn is a key player in that process. That is especially true for any nomination for an Oklahoma position.
Under the traditions and customs observed in the confirmation process, senators hold what amounts to veto power over individual nominations from their home states.
Usually the White House does not submit a nomination to the Senate without first obtaining the support of the U.S. senators from that state.
Not only did the Mikkanen nomination draw criticism from Coburn, but it also failed to generate comments of support from Oklahoma's other U.S. senator, Republican Jim Inhofe, and Rep. Dan Boren, the lone Oklahoma Democrat in Congress.
Arvo Mikkanen (left) and U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn (right)