Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief in Native Condition. Discussion »
Appoint Arvo Mikkanen
Yesterday President Barack Obama exercised his presidential authority provided by the US Constitution to recess-appoint Richard Cordray to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and, in a separate move, three members to the National Relations Relations Board.
The Constitution allows for such appointments while the Congress is in recess. Historically US presidents - Democratic and Republican - have exercised this presidential authority when Congress has not acted on their appointments and the presidents felt it is in the best interest of the nation to have individuals in needed positions.
Given President Obama's bold move on yesterday's appointments, he should exercise the same authority to recess-appoint Assistant US Attorney Arvo Mikkanen, who is a tribal member of the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma.
Last February, President Obama nominated him to be US District Judge for the Northern District of Oklahoma.
Because of yet to be explained partisan politics, the two lackluster US Senators Tom Coburn and James Inhofe never supported the Democratic President's nomination. The only explanation was for their not moving Mr. Mikkanen's nomination forward was they were not consulted about the nomination.
The weekend before Christmas, his nomination was returned to the White House as dead.
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 ever 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.
Unfortunately, the people of Oklahoma suffer because of partisan politics played by their two United States senators.
The Native News Network applauds President Obama's recess-appointments. It is time for the country to have a strong leader, who acts in the best interest of the nation. This Congress, in particular, seems to play partisan games rather then to properly govern as Americans elected them to do.
Therefore, the Native News Network is calling on President Obama to recess-appoint Arvo Mikkanen to the federal bench this week.
posted January 6, 2011 6:00 am est
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