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Initial Reaction Cool to Indian Judicial Nominee (Feb 09, 2011)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The nomination of a man who would be the only current federal judge of American Indian descent is being received coolly by Oklahoma's two U.S. senators.

President Barack Obama nominated Arvo Mikkanen to fill an open district court judgeship in Oklahoma's Northern District, based in Tulsa. Mikkanen has served as a trial and appellate judge on Oklahoma tribal courts and has worked as an assistant U.S. attorney in Oklahoma's Western District since 1994.

He's is considered by colleagues to be one of the nation's top American Indian legal minds.

But Sens. Tom Coburn and Jim Inhofe and U.S. Rep. Dan Boren, the lone Democrat in Oklahoma's congressional delegation, have come out against the nomination, mostly for reasons of protocol, saying they weren't consulted by the White House concerning the nomination.

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