Senator Tom Coburn's Senate Floor Remarks on Judge Bacharach

Here are Senator Tom Coburn's remarks made on the U.S. Senate Floor about Judge Bacharach on the day he was confirmed by the U.S. Senate:

Mr. President, I rise today in strong support of the nomination of Magistrate Judge Robert Bacharach of Edmond, OK, to be the next judge on the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. Judge Bacharach is wellqualified for this position and has received widespread support and accolades from across the State of Oklahoma, including members of academia and members of both the Oklahoma and Federal Bar Associations. In fact, last year, the Oklahoma Bar Association passed a resolution praising Judge Bacharach’s legal abilities and supporting his confirmation.

This broad array of support is indicative of his exceptional legal background. Judge Bacharach received his B.A., with high honors, from the University of Oklahoma in 1981 and his J.D. from Washington University School of Law in 1985. Judge Bacharach began his legal career as a law clerk for fellow Oklahoman, Chief Judge William J. Holloway, Jr., on the Tenth Circuit; thus, he is already quite familiar with those chambers. Following his twoyear clerkship, he joined the outstanding Oklahomabased law firm Crowe & Dunlevy, becoming a shareholder in 1994. After 12 years of private practice, he was appointed by thejudges of his district court as a United States Magistrate Judge for the Western District of Oklahoma where he currently presides.

In addition to serving as a magistrate judge, Judge Bacharach also served as an adjunct professor at the University of Oklahoma School of Law and received a number of outstanding awards and recognition for his years of scholarship and service. In addition to his clear legal qualifications, even more important to my decision to support Judge Bacharach’s nomination are the strong testimonies to his integrity and commitment to service outside of his judicial role. He is currently the Vice President of the Federal Bar Association (FBA) for the Tenth Circuit and formerly served the Oklahoma City Chapter of the FBA as President, Vice President, and a member of the Board of Directors.

Furthermore, Judge Bacharach serves the Oklahoma legal community beyond his professional capacity. One of his primary areas of service to his colleagues is through his involvement with the Oklahoma Bar Association’s Lawyers Helping Lawyers Committee, which helps attorneys who are experiencing personal problems such as depression, alcoholism, and drug dependency. He has served on the committee for three years and also joined the Board of Directors of the Lawyers Helping Lawyers Foundation. Judge Bacharach serves Oklahoma outside of the legal profession as the Director and Executive Committee Member of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Oklahoma City and on the Board of Trustees of the Temple B’nai Israel.

I believe Judge Bacharach will up hold the highest standards and reflect the best in the American judicial tradition by joining the Tenth Circuit as a distinguished and respected member of the Oklahoma legal community. The Judiciary Committee received many letters of support for Judge Bacharach’s nomination, including recommendations from judges, deans and professors from Oklahoma law schools, several bar associations, and attorneys from Judge Bacharach’s former law firm, Crowe & Dunlevy.

Equally important to Judge Bacharach’s qualifications is his judicial philosophy. I believe his record and his hearing testimony demonstrate that he respects the limited role our founders intended judges and the federal government to play in our constitutional democracy.

Based on all of these factors, I believe Judge Bacharach will be an excellent addition to the Tenth Circuit, and I urge my colleagues to support his nomination.

I offer my congratulations to Judge Bacharach and his family on this momentous occasion of his confirmation and wish him well in his new endeavor.

Judge Bacharach’s nomination got caught up in the political shenanigans the majority leader and the chairman of the Judiciary Committee carried out at the end of the last Congress. Never before has a circuit court nominee come to the floor without notification of the very members of the Judiciary Committee who sponsored their nomination in the committee. So it was purely a political trick. And for that I think the Senate owes Judge Bacharach an apology for the delay. I have no doubt he will be confirmed, and I doubt there will be anybody who will vote against him.

That leads me to two other comments I wish to make. I have sat on the Judiciary Committee for four Supreme Court nominees, and so what I am about to say may strike some people as hyperbole, but it is not. The four Supreme Court nominees who appeared while I sat on the Judiciary Committee displayed great qualities, and what I am about to say doesn’t diminish their characteristics or qualities at all, but I must say that Judge Bacharach has the two qualities that are at such a high level that we should want each and every judge who sits on our Federal bench to have them.

The first is personal integrity. Now, those words are used a lot in our country, but this man has demonstrated it with his life, with his commitments to other people, his commitment to helping other people, with the way he spends his time, with his commitment to his family and to his faith. You can not find a blemish on this man in terms of his personal integrity, and very rarely can we say that about anybody. He is actually a stellar individual, exactly the type of individual our Founders had in mind, someone who has the kind of personal life that exemplifies the characteristics and qualities that built this country, a love
for the law, and an understanding that the rule of law is the glue that holds our society together.

That leads me to the second quality. I have interviewed a lot of candidates for the Supreme Court and for judge ships and circuit court positions, and I have never met anybody who knows the Constitution, its limitations, and its intent better than Judge Bacharach. I think he quite assuredly impressed every member of the Judiciary Committee with his knowledge, his insight, and his background.

So Judge Bacharach brings together the two qualities that are so important and represent the upper end of all the candidates I have seen in my 9 years in the Senate of those whom we would ask to fulfill some of the most important positions in our country and in our society.

I believe Judge Bacharach is the first judge I will have voted for whom I have no doubt of his absolute fidelity to the U.S. Constitution. So I sleep well at night. I wish we had 100 Judge Bacharachs—100—to put on the bench today. I don’t believe he can be influenced by anything other than stare decisis, precedence, and the U.S. Constitution and the statutes. His personal life gives reflection and insight into how he is going to be a judge, how he will carry himself, how he will act in this position of power. When you meet him, what you find is one of the humblest of men with one of the greatest intellects I have ever known in my life.

So I will just say that I fully support his nomination. I congratulate him because I know he is going to be approved, and I say, Mr. President, bring us more Robert Bacharachs.

I yield the floor, and I suggest the absence of a quorum.

PDF of the remarks