Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief in Native Currents. Discussion »
Arvo Mikkanen-Kiowa Tribe
OKLAHOMA CITY - Without as much of the courtesy of a hearing by the Senate Judiciary Committee, the nomination of US Attorney Arvo Mikkanen is dead. It was returned to the White House by the US Senate on Saturday. Mikkanen is an enrolled tribal citizen of the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma.
President Barack Obama nominated him in February to be US District Judge for the Northern District of Oklahoma.
Had the Senate done its due diligence and approved the nomination, Mikkanen would have become the only American Indian to sit on the federal bench. He would have been only the third American Indian to serve. The other two were; Frank Seay, nominated by President Carter in 1979, and Billy Burrage, nominated by President Clinton.
Currently, there are 875 federal judgeships in the United States; none of whom are American Indians.
Mikkanen has a distinguished legal career and has served as Assistant US Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma since 1994. Prior to becoming part of the US Attorney's Office, he was an associate attorney and litigator with the Andrews Davis law firm in Oklahoma City. Additionally, from 1988 to 1994, Mikkanen served in various judgeships for several Oklahoma American Indian tribes, including Chief Justice of the Cheyenne-Arapaho Supreme Court from 1991 to 1994.
He received his undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College and his law degree from Yale Law School.
The National Congress of American Indians called for a fast confirmation of Mikkanen. "He is an excellent choice for the Federal District Court," said Jefferson Keel, president of the nation's oldest American Indian organization in February after the nomination was announced.
Oklahoma Republican Senators Tom Coburn and James Inhofe never supported the Democratic President's nomination, declaring they were not consulted about the nomination.
posted December 19, 2011 9:20 am est
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