WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump announced his intention Wednesday to nominate Tulsa attorney John F. Heil III to fill a federal judicial vacancy in the Northern, Eastern and Western districts of Oklahoma.
A director at Hall, Estill, Hartwick, Gable, Golden and Nelson, Heil has focused his legal practice on commercial litigation.
He previously served as an assistant district attorney in Tulsa County.
Heil, 51, received a bachelor’s degree in finance from Oklahoma State University in 1990 and a law degree in 1994 from the University of Tulsa College of Law, where he served as an editor for the Tulsa Law Journal.
He joined his law firm in 2000.
Under community involvement, his law firm’s web page states that he is a former board member of Leadership Tulsa, Eisenhower International School Foundation and Crosstown Learning Center.
Heil is a member of the Oklahoma Bar Association, the Tulsa County Bar Association and American Inns of Court.
Oklahoma’s two U.S. senators — Republicans Jim Inhofe and James Lankford — applauded Trump’s nomination of Heil.
“John has handled litigation matters in various state and federal courts, including at the appellate level, throughout the United States and has extensive trial experience, giving him all the tools necessary to excel in this new role,” Inhofe said.
He urged a swift Senate confirmation.
Lankford also expressed confidence in Heil.
“John Heil’s work and reputation across Oklahoma has proven he is well-qualified, and I am confident his expertise will serve our nation and Oklahoma well,” he said.
Another member of the Hall, Estill law firm, John O’Connor, was nominated for the judicial slot by Trump in April 2018, but that nomination failed to advance and expired with the sine die adjournment of the Senate.
Initially O’Connor expressed interest in having his nomination resubmitted to the Senate but in March withdrew from consideration.
Along with expressing his disappointment at that development, Inhofe, Oklahoma’s senior senator, revealed Trump wanted to pick a younger nominee.
That is a common goal for presidents who want their stamp on the federal bench to last beyond their time in office.
Trump announced his intention to make Heil’s nomination along with several others came on the same day the president celebrated what he termed a “profoundly historic milestone and a truly momentous achievement” of having at least 150 federal judges confirmed by the Senate.
At the White House event, Trump praised individual members of the Senate, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who has used floor time to confirm nominations, which now need only a simple majority compared to the supermajority usually needed to advance legislation.