© 2023 Public Radio Tulsa
800 South Tucker Drive
Tulsa, OK 74104
(918) 631-2577

A listener-supported service of The University of Tulsa
classical 88.7 | public radio 89.5
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Senate Confirms Oklahoma Supreme Court Justice Patrick Wyrick for Federal Bench

State of Oklahoma-File Photo

The Oklahoma Supreme Court is going to need a new justice.

With Republicans fast-tracking President Trump’s judicial nominees, 38-year-old Oklahoma Supreme Court Justice Patrick Wyrick has been confirmed for the U.S District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma.

The Senate confirmed his nomination along party lines 53–47 late Tuesday, with new rules strictly limiting time for debate over judicial nominees.

Sen. James Lankford introduced Wyrick to the Senate Judiciary Committee last May.

"He is a very capable attorney and judge and will continue to serve Oklahoma and the nation well as a federal district court judge for the Western District of Oklahoma. Sen. Inhofe and I both highly recommend him to this spot," Lankford said.

In that May 2018 hearing, Wyrick responded to Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse questioning him on his role as Oklahoma solicitor general in changing a few words in a letter written by a Devon Energy lobbyist then sending that as official correspondence to the EPA to oppose methane emission limits.

"Ultimately, the EPA agreed with the position that the office of attorney general took in the letter —" Wyrick said.

"I’m less concerned about the EPA position than about what it means when a staff member for the attorney general is coordinating directly with lobbyists to, as I use the phrase, ‘shop out’ the seal of the state of Oklahoma to a donor," Whitehouse said, cutting off Wyrick.

Wyrick took heat from U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor in 2015 for mischaracterizing drug studies as Oklahoma’s solicitor general in a case against the state’s execution protocol. Whitehouse also grilled Wyrick on that last May.

"How on Earth do you not check and recheck your citations to make sure that you are not making false statements to the Supreme Court?" Whitehouse said.

"I certainly stand by the citations that we made in that brief, and, ultimately —" Wyrick said.

"So, she was wrong?" Whitehouse said, cutting off Wyrick.

"She was mistaken with respect to the particular scientific evidence that we had cited," Wyrick said.

After 2018 ended without the Senate taking action on Wyrick's nomination, it went back to the White House. Wyrick was nominated for the U.S. District Court again this year.

Wyrick has been mentioned as a potential U.S. Supreme Court pick for President Trump.

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.