Dan Webber, an Oklahoma City attorney and former U.S. attorney for Oklahoma’s Western District, writes in the Tulsa World that Oklahoma Sens. Tom Coburn and Jim Inhofe should “Maine up” by following the lead of Maine Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe to urge their colleagues not to accept their party’s political standoff on federal circuit judges.
Last month, Collins and Snowe announced that President Barack Obama’s nomination of William Kayatta Jr. had been held up by a moratorium on confirmation of appellate judges, which is not unusual in the months leading up to a presidential election. The Senate Judiciary Committee confirmed his nomination in April.
Kayatta, a nationally known trial lawyer from Cape Elizabeth, would succeed Judge Kermit Lipez, who on Jan. 1 took active senior status after having served in that role since 1998. Lipez has agreed to maintain a full caseload through the end of the summer, according to members of Maine’s congressional delegation.
Collins said Kayatta’s nomination is languishing because the Obama administration didn’t move fast enough to prevent the presidential year stalling tactics. She says that’s unfair to Kayatta.
For Oklahoma, the Tulsa World reports, this means the confirmation of U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert E. Bacharach to a federal appeals court, according to Coburn, “is not going to happen,” despite support for Bacharach from both of Oklahoma’s senators.
Maine’s senators, however, are pressing for a floor vote on the Kayatta nomination.