Patrick Wyrick, whose ties to former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt when they both served in Oklahoma state government generated controversy, was confirmed on Tuesday to the federal bench.
The Senate voted 53 to 47 in clearing Wyrick’s nomination to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, which includes Oklahoma City.
Earlier in the day, the chamber confirmed Daniel Domenico to the District of Colorado, 57 to 42. The twin confirmations are part of an accelerated push by the Republican-led Senate to approve Donald Trump’s trial court selections.
Wyrick is a Supreme Court shortlister and the most controversial of the group. He’s an Oklahoma Supreme Court justice and a protege of Pruitt, who headed the EPA under Donald Trump before resigning under an ethics cloud.
Wyrick was solicitor general under Pruitt, and faced questions from Democrats about his work with him and their ties to an energy industry lobbyist.
He also defended Oklahoma’s use of the drug midazolam in death row executions, successfully arguing at the U.S. Supreme Court in 2015’s Glossip v. Gross. The drug has been used in several botched executions, and critics say it has resulted in severe and prolonged pain.
Former Colorado Solicitor General
He’s been a member of the Federalist Society, a legal organization of conservatives and libertarians, intermittently since 2000.
Domenico clerked for Judge Timothy Tymkovich of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, who is now that court’s chief judge.
He was an associate at Hogan & Hartson in Denver, now known as Hogan Lovells.
He received a rating of “Qualified” from the ABA’s Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary. This rating is lowest than the highest possible rating of “Well Qualified.”
Morales, who is Hispanic, was nominated to the Southern District of Texas and is a partner at Kelly Hart in Austin. He would fill a vacancy open since June 2011. He was chief legal adviser to Republican Texas Gov. Rick Perry from 2011-14.
Brady, nominated to the Northern District of Indiana, is a partner at Haller & Colvin in Fort Wayne, and has practiced law since 1994. She served as the vice president of the Fort Wayne Sexual Assault Treatment Center from 2009-12.
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(Recasts top three paragraphs with Wyrick confirmation. )