Report: Coburn Spurns Judicial Nominee for Background in International Law
By David Baumann | September 12, 2011 12:26 pm

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) apparently is blocking the nomination of the dean of the University of Tulsa law school for a seat on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, the Oklahoman reported Monday.

Quoting attorneys familiar with the situation, the newspaper reported that the conservative senator is concerned about Dean Janet Levit’s background in international law. Oklahoma City attorney Mike Turpen, a Democratic Party fundraiser with ties to the White House, said Coburn told him in July that Levit would not receive his support–a decision that effectively doomed her nomination.

Turpen said her nomination was on the verge of being finalized at the time.

Coburn is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and has been outspoken in his views that judges should not consult international law in making decisions.

Coburn and Levit declined to discuss the situation with the newspaper.

The 10th Circuit seat has been vacant since July 2010, when Robert Henry left the bench to become president of Oklahoma City University.

Coburn and the state’s other senator, Republican James Inhofe have yet to agree with the White House on several other nominations, the newspaper reported. They include the nomination of Oklahoma City Assistant U.S. AttorneyArvo Mikkanen to sit on the federal bench in Tulsa.


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