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Oklahoma Supreme Court Justice Wyrick a U.S. Senate Vote Away from Federal Bench

State of Oklahoma-File Photo

With a party-line vote, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee moved Oklahoma Supreme Court Justice Patrick Wyrick closer to a federal bench.

The American Bar Association has not yet issued a recommendation on whether Wyrick is qualified to be a judge for the Western District of Oklahoma, a practice standard for all judicial nominees. Chairman and Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley said he doesn’t need it.

"The ABA has had plenty of time to perform its evaluation, and I’ve said so many times that outside groups can’t dictate the committee’s schedule. I’m skeptical of the usefulness of the ABA," Grassley said.

The Judiciary Committee's 10 Democrats said there’s not enough information to know what kind of judge Wyrick will be. California Sen. Dianne Feinstein said in 2016, Wyrick called the entire administrative state "unlawful."

"This is a concerning statement, as the term 'administrative state' has been used to refer to the federal government’s enforcement of laws that protect health care and the environment, as well as regulations that combat fraud and abuse among large companies," Feinstein said.

Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin said having been his solicitor general, Wyrick is a Scott Pruitt protégé.

"For six years, he carried out the Pruitt agenda and filed cases and briefs at his direction. As we all know, Administrator Scott Pruitt has been involved in serial scandals at the Environmental Protection Agency," Durbin said.

Durbin added Wyrick is highly regarded by the same conservative group that temporarily employed Pruitt’s wife after the EPA administrator turned to an aide and Republican donors for help finding her a job.

Wyrick’s nomination may now be considered by the full Senate.