Fill the bench

This is an archived article that was published on in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The story "New Utah vacancy on the 10th Circuit appeals court" (Tribune, Dec. 18) accurately reported that Judge Michael Murphy will assume senior status, opening up the spot on the court that has traditionally been reserved for a Utahn.

However, it is important to know that Murphy will step down on Dec. 31, and create three vacancies out of 12 judgeships on the 10th Circuit — unless the Senate votes on Judge Robert Bacharach, the well-qualified Oklahoma nominee to a 10th Circuit judgeship that has been vacant for two-and-a-half years.

Moreover, Bacharach enjoys the enthusiastic support of home-state Oklahoma GOP Sens. Jim Inhofe and Tom Coburn. Thus, before the Senate adjourns, it must grant a yes or no vote to Bacharach, whose nomination has languished months on the Senate floor.

Utah GOP Sens. Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee must also cooperate with President Barack Obama in promptly selecting and confirming a nominee for Judge Murphy's seat. These actions are critical so the 10th Circuit can deliver justice.

Carl Tobias Professor of law, University of Richmond

Richmond, Va.