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January 10, 2007

Second judicial try for Frizzell

Tulsa World

By JIM MYERS World Washington Bureau
His nomination for a U.S. district judgeship hit a roadblock last year because of a spat between senators.
WASHINGTON -- The judicial nomination of Gregory Frizzell of Tulsa, torpedoed late last year by an unrelated impasse in the U.S. Senate, was resubmitted Tuesday by the White House.
Sen. Jim Inhofe welcomed the development with a prediction of a quick and easy confirmation for Frizzell as U.S. judge in the Northern District of Oklahoma.
"We are right back where we were, except the one obstacle is out of the way," the Oklahoma Republican said, adding he believes a final vote could be held in a matter of weeks, not months.
"Yes, that is what I expect."
Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, did not respond to a request for a comment.
Frizzell's nomination was among a large number announced Tuesday by the White House.
It has never drawn public controversy, but it died late last year after getting caught in a standoff between Sens. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., and Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., who this year has become chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Brownback had placed a hold on the nomination of Judge Janet Neff of Michigan over an  
issue involving same-sex unions, and Leahy responded by holding up President Bush's other judicial nominations.
Inhofe stepped in and tried to break the impasse, but time ran out.
Neff's nomination, he said, was not among those resubmitted by the White House.
That development, in addition to what he believes was a commitment from Leahy, led Inhofe to predict a quick confirmation vote for Frizzell and some of the others.
"His position is that he is now going to send these to the floor and is not going to even have rehearings on them," Inhofe said.
"I know that is what Leahy is going to tell me, because that is what he told me when we talked before. He said as soon as we release the Michigan problem, we will release them."
That could not be confirmed by the committee.
One aide pointed out that the committee has two new members who have never had a chance to consider the nominations, adding that the Senate also has other new members who will be asked to weigh in on them before they are confirmed.
Leahy did not address the issue in a statement he issued concerning the decision that some of the more controversial nominations would not be resubmitted.
"The president's decision not to push ahead with these controversial nominees, as he has done in the past, is a welcome beginning," he said.
"I hope to expeditiously address some of these emergency vacancies in the Judiciary Committee."
Inhofe again praised Frizzell.
"I have always said that Frizzell is the ideal type of candidate that we want for the federal bench. He is young," Inhofe said of the 50-year-old nominee.
"Most of the problems that Americans are concerned with don't come from rules, regulations, laws or White House policies. They come from the courts."
Inhofe said President Bush's greatest legacy may be the number of conservative judges he has named to the bench. Frizzell, he said, was "the model for such a person."
"We have had liberal judges legislating from the bench for a long time," he said.
If confirmed, Frizzell will fill a vacancy in the Northern District created by the 2005 resignation of Sven Erik Holmes.
Frizzell was up for re-election to his Tulsa County post on the state bench last year, but withdrew his candidacy after being tapped the first time around for the federal position in June.

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