Skip Navigation
Judging the Environment judicial nominations photo

A project tracking federal judicial nominations and courts.

Defenders of Wildlife


Robert Bacharach

Tenth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals
Confirmed February 25, 2013

UPDATE: After many months of inexcusable, unprecedented delays, by a UNANIMOUS vote of 93-0the Senate on Feb. 25, 2013 finally confirmed Robert E. Bacharach, of Oklahoma, wha was first nominated Jan. 23, 2012, to fill one of four vacancies on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.  The extreme nature and length of obstruction by GOP leaders is shown by: 

·         the unprecedented delay and filibuster of a judicial nominee who was never been opposed by any Senator on the merits

·         Bacharach has consistently been strongly supported by both conservative Republican senators from his home state of Oklahoma who pushed to confirm him early last year and during the lame-duck Senate session.

·         it is more than a year since Bacharach was first nominated and 8 months since the Judiciary Committee first approved him on a voice vote.

President Obama renominated Robert E. Bacharach, of Oklahoma, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Tenth Circuit, on Jan. 3, 2013 with the continuing strong support of Bacharach’s home-state Republican U.S. Senators Tom Coburn and James M. Inhofe.  On Feb. 7, Bacharach was again approved on a Committee voice vote. and he will be confirmed with little or no opposition on a Feb. 25 Floor vote.

On July 30, 2012, a Senate cloture vote failed to halt a filibuster of Bacharach's nomination. The vote  was 56 Yes, 34 No and 3 "Present." 

The 34 No votes fell far short of the 41 needed to sustain a filibuster indefinitely.  However, this vote failed; because cloture requires 60 votes, not a majority or a percentage of those voting, voting "Present " or missing the vote is the Same as voting ‘No’, Salt Lake Tribune, Glenn Sugameli, Letter to the Editor (5/25/11).


Bacharach’s supporters include, The Oklahoman, Tulsa [OK] World, and Norman Transcript [OK] editorial boards, and other commentary.  At Bacharach’s hearing, Sen. Coburn, who serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee, introduced an Oklahoma Bar Association resolution and a wide range of letters of support.  The Committee approved Bacharach’s nomination on a June 7, 2012 voice vote.


On June 11th, a 60-31 Senate cloture vote ended a filibuster of Ninth Circuit nominee Andrew Hurwitz, who enjoyed wholehearted support” from home-state Arizona Republican Sens. Jon Kyl and John McCain.  The Senate confirmed Hurwitz on June 12th.


On June 13th, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (KY) made an unprecedented decision to try to block Floor votes on consensus circuit court nominee until after the election.  “I think it’s stupid,” Coburn said in an interview, adding that the goal should be to confirm good judges and that Bacharach would make a great nominee for a Republican president.


On June 18th, Maine Republican U.S. Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins announced that they would support a cloture motion to end any filibuster of their home-state First Circuit nominee William J. Kayatta Jr., whom they support.  Former U.S. Attorney Dan Webber’s Tulsa World Op-Ed urged the Oklahoma senators to “Maine up” by joining “with the Maine senators and add a few other GOP colleagues who believe, on principle, that it is wrong to use a filibuster to kill a judicial nomination. Sixty senators willing to end the stalling would allow these stellar nominees to be considered on their merits.” 


Michael McConnell, a former 10th Circuit Court judge appointed by President George W. Bush, said: “Judge Bacharach has such strong support and such a good reputation across the spectrum that I am hoping that he will be the exception that does get confirmed, even in an election year.”

gavel icon See all letters for this nominee

gavel icon See all senators' statements for this nominee

gavel icon See all news stories about this nominee

gavel icon See all editorials and commentary about this nominee