It's about time federal court vacancy was filled
BY World's Editorials Writers
Thursday, December 13, 2012
12/13/12 at 3:01 AM
Common sense appears to be breaking out in at least one chamber of Congress. The Senate this week finally approved the nomination of Tulsa attorney John Dowdell to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District. Not a moment too soon, we'd add. This Senate, with its partisan gridlock, had not approved a district court judgeship in six months.
We're tempted to say that the confirmation of Dowdell was worth the wait. It is, but nothing justifies the foot-dragging that's gone on for years over President Barack Obama's judicial nominees.
Dowdell will fill a position previously held by U.S. District Judge Terence Kern, who took senior status. During the long vacancy its been up to U.S. District Court Chief Judge Greg Frizzell and U.S. District Judge Claire Eagan - with help from Kern, who's on senior status, and from U.S. District Judge James Payne, who splits his time between the Northern and Eastern districts - to shoulder the load.
The Senate cannot, however, quite bring itself to confirm the highly qualified U.S Magistrate Judge Bob Bacharach for a 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals post, which has been vacant for years.
Bacharach is one of four circuit court nominees caught in an impasse. He's been waiting six months for a confirmation vote. What's curious is that Bacharach is a totally noncontroversial nominee. Both Oklahoma U.S. Sens. James Inhofe and Tom Coburn, who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, cannot say enough good things about Bacharach's qualifications.
Dowdell, 57, likewise is an excellent choice. A respected Tulsa attorney, he clerked for 10th Circuit Judge William J. Holloway. Dowdell is smart, experienced and has exactly the kind of demeanor Oklahomans would want in a federal judge. He will be fair and he will follow the law.
It took a long time - far too long - but Dowdell was worth the wait.
Original Print Headline: Dowdell confirmed