On April 10, 2018, President Trump nominated Oklahoma Supreme Court Justice Patrick Wyrick to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma. If confirmed, Wyrick, who is just 37 years old and has practiced law for just over ten years, will replace Judge David Russell, who assumed senior status on July 7, 2013. Patrick Wyrick is also on President Trump’s short list for the Supreme Court.
Despite his short legal career, Wyrick has made a name for himself as a protégé of current Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt, for whom he worked during Pruitt’s tenure as Oklahoma Attorney General. Wyrick has taken far-right stances on a number of controversial issues. While working as the Solicitor General for the State of Oklahoma, Wyrick assisted Pruitt in dismantling environmental protections and was criticized for enabling Pruitt’s tight-knit relationship with oil and gas lobbyists. As reported by The New York Times and the Natural Resources Defense Council, Wyrick was part of exchanges in which Pruitt received talking points provided by oil, coal and gas lobbyists against environmental regulations, repeated those talking points, nearly verbatim, and then later accepted campaign funds from those same special interests. Wyrick, with Pruitt, also advocated for restrictions on women’s reproductive health, helped dismantle protections for workers, defended a law that attempted to codify religious intolerance toward Muslims, and even came under fire for allegedly attempting to mislead the U.S. Supreme Court during his defense of Oklahoma’s death penalty protocol.
Wyrick’s nomination is in keeping with the Trump Administration’s stated goal of filling the federal bench with judges who are hostile to government regulations that protect health and safety, the environment, consumers and workers, having once stated, “I think we have all sorts of basic fundamental Constitutional problems with the nature of the current administrative state.”
Alliance for Justice opposes Patrick Wyrick’s nomination.