by Samantha Berkovits
Some 150 lawyers and advocates from 27 states will meet with officials at the White House on Monday to discuss the judicial vacancy crisis. Monday marks the official end of a Senate deal to schedule votes on 14 nominees, wrapping up with votes on the nominations of U.S. District Judge Jacqueline Nguyen to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Kristine Gerhard Baker to be United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Arkansas and John Lee to be United States District Judge for the Northern District of Illinois.
All three nominations were approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee months ago and have been stalled since. After the Monday votes, there will still be 16 nominees waiting for floor votes, many of whom were approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee last year.
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) has finally given consent for the Senate Judiciary Committee to hold hearings on two Oklahoma judicial nominees, Robert E. Bacharach and John Dowdell. Bacharach, a federal judge magistrate ranked unanimously well qualified by the American Bar Association, has been nominated for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, the seat has remained vacant for two years as the White House and Oklahoma’s Republican senators failed to find a nominee they could agree on. Dowdell is Obama’s second nominee for a U.S. District Court vacancy in Tulsa after Sens. Coburn and Inhofe refused to give consent to his first pick in December.