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Judging the Environment judicial nominations photo

A project tracking federal judicial nominations and courts.


Arvo Mikkanen (N.D. Okla.)

Returned to President December 17, 2011

President Obama nominated Arvo Mikkanen, a member of the Kiowa Tribe, to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma on Feb. 2, 2011. Mikkanen serves as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma.

Mikkanen’s historic nomination to be the only current Native American federal judge was supported by the Editorial Boards of The Tulsa [OK] World and the Oklahoman and a range of national, Native American, and state commentary. 

Oklahoma home-state Republican U.S. Senators Tom Coburn and James Inhofe, however, denied Mikkanen a Judiciary Committee hearing without explanation and his nomination was returned to the President on Dec. 17, 2011.

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