Three prominent Oklahomans visited the White House and Capitol Hill on Monday to urge Senate confirmation of federal judicial nominees. The process of approving judges to the federal bench often slows in the months leading up to a presidential election as lawmakers from the party out of power sometimes stall action in hopes that they’ll win the White House and get a chance to replace the nominees with their own.
Former U.S. Attorney Dan Webber, former Seminole Nation Chief Enoch Kelly Haney and Jeremy Aliason, executive director of the National Native American Bar Association, went first to the White House to meet with Attorney General Eric Holder and White House counsel Kathy Ruemmler about the vacancy rate.
They then went to Capitol Hill to meet with representatives from the offices of Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Muskogee, and Jim Inhofe, R-Tulsa.
The Oklahoma senators have cleared two nominees from the state for a hearing: Robert E. Bacharach, a federal magistrate judge in Oklahoma City who has been nominated for a seat on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and John E. Dowdell, a Tulsa attorney who has been nominated for a U.S. district judgeship in Tulsa.
The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on Wednesday that includes a look at Bacharach and Dowdell.
Webber said the Oklahomans asked that the senators be pro-active in pushing for full Senate action on the Oklahoma nominees if they are approved by the committee.
Webber said Haney also advocated at the White House for more Native American nominees for positions around the country.