Report: Patrick Wyrick

Wyrick's record demonstrates he is hostile to government regulations that protect health and safety, the environment, consumers and workers.

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From the Daily Beast:

Like Oldham, Wyrick made his name as someone else’s deputy: in this case, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, who went on to one of the most ignominious cabinet-level tenures in recent history. There, Wyrick was the point man connecting Pruitt’s office to Devon Energy, which ghost-wrote letters Pruitt cut-and-pasted onto government letterhead and which received sweetheart deals in Oklahoma and later when Pruitt headed the EPA. Amazingly, Wyrick blatantly defied conflict of interest rules by continuing to own stock in the company.

He also spent years challenging a vast array of environmental regulations, suing the federal government at (double) taxpayer expense, and usually losing. At the tender age of 37, he’s said to be on Trump’s shortlist for a seat on the Supreme Court.

From the Alliance for Justice:

Wyrick served as counsel of record for the state of Oklahoma, and argued the case before the Supreme Court. While the Court eventually ruled in a 5-4 decision that the state’s protocol was constitutional, Oklahoma and its attorneys, including Wyrick, came under fire from the Supreme Court.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor directly criticized Wyrick from the bench, accusing the Oklahoma attorneys of attempting to mislead the Court:

I am substantially disturbed that in your brief you made factual statements that were not supported by those sources [you cited, and were] in fact directly contradicted. So nothing you say or read to me am I going to believe, frankly, until I see with my own eyes in the context, okay?

Sotomayor said she found “many” examples of Wyrick’s team misleading the court. Justice Kagan also had harsh words for the Oklahoma death penalty protocol, describing it as “like being burned alive[.]”

The detailed background report on Patrick Wyrick from the Alliance for Justice is here.

From the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights:

Challenged Environmental Protections: Mr. Wyrick worked closely with then-Attorney General Scott Pruitt to help the oil and gas industry advance its extreme anti-environment agenda. Emails that have been produced and published by the New York Times demonstrate this unseemly relationship.[2] In one email, for example, a lobbyist for Devon Energy emailed Mr. Wyrick and praised him for a letter – ghost written by Devon Energy – that Mr. Pruitt sent on state government letterhead to the Environmental Protection Agency challenging its methane regulations.[3] The emails demonstrate many other communications and collaborations between Mr. Wyrick and Devon Energy. According to his Financial Disclosure Report submitted to the Senate, Mr. Wyrick owns shares of Devon Energy.[4] In February 2017, the Oklahoma Supreme Court – to which Mr. Wyrick had just been appointed – blocked a trial court’s order to have more of Mr. Pruitt’s emails made public. A local commentator wrote: “And here we are, with Wyrick rightfully still appointed – and a Justice of the Oklahoma Supreme Court until and unless something changes – sitting on a court which just issued an indefinite stay on the release of his former boss’s emails. It just looks bad.”[5]


Defended Anti-Muslim Referendum: Mr. Wyrick helped defend a proposed amendment to the Oklahoma Constitution that stated, among other things: “The courts shall not look to the legal precepts of other nations or cultures. Specifically, the courts shall not consider international law or Sharia Law.”[8] This proposed amendment was passed in a statewide referendum, but it was challenged in court and struck down as a violation of the Free Exercise Clause and the Establishment Clause.[9] In affirming the district court ruling, the Tenth Circuit noted: “Appellants do not identify any actual problem the challenged amendment seeks to solve. Indeed, they admitted at the preliminary injunction hearing that they did not know of even a single instance where an Oklahoma court had applied Sharia law or used the legal precepts of other nations or cultures, let alone that such applications or uses had resulted in concrete problems in Oklahoma.”[10] Mr. Wyrick’s willingness to defend this inflammatory, anti-Muslim state referendum is especially troubling for a nominee who would be entrusted to apply equal justice under law.


Possible Role in Other Troubling Briefs: Mr. Wyrick listed on his Senate questionnaire several troubling Supreme Court amicus briefs that were filed by Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt during the time in which Mr. Wyrick served as the Solicitor General. However, he did not indicate what his role was in writing, reviewing, editing, or approving these briefs. In their brief filed in Obergefell v. Hodges, Oklahoma argued against marriage equality in a brief written by Stuart Kyle Duncan. In United States v. Windsor, Oklahoma defended the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act. In Abbott v. Veasey, Oklahoma defended Texas’s discriminatory voter ID law. In Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Oklahoma advocated for race-neutral admissions policies and against affirmative action. And in Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt, Oklahoma defended an extreme Texas anti-abortion law that was struck down as unconstitutional. In light of Mr. Wyrick’s self-described role as “the chief appellate lawyer for the State of Oklahoma”[24] during the time these briefs were filed, it is hard to imagine he did not review and approve them, so Senators must thoroughly question the nominee and require further disclosure.

Ideological Jobs and Affiliations: Mr. Wyrick’s extreme ideology can be seen not only in the positions he has advanced, but also in the career he has chosen. Prior to his appointment to the Oklahoma Supreme Court last year by conservative Republican Governor Mary Fallin, Mr. Wyrick worked for six years as Solicitor General of Oklahoma under another right-wing politician: Attorney General Scott Pruitt, who appointed him to the position. Before that, he worked at an Oklahoma law firm primarily representing corporate clients. His first job out of law school was serving as a judicial law clerk to an Oklahoma U.S. District Judge, James Payne, whose nomination to the Tenth Circuit was withdrawn by the Bush administration when it was learned that he had violated federal law by failing to recuse himself in at least 18 cases involving corporations in which he owned stock.[25] In addition, Mr. Wyrick is a member of the Federalist Society, joining this organization in 2011 and currently serving as the president of the Federalist Society’s Oklahoma City Lawyers Chapter. This out-of-the-mainstream legal organization represents a sliver of America’s legal profession – just four percent – yet over 80 percent of Trump’s circuit court nominees, and a significant number of his district court nominees, have been Federalist Society members.

#RatfuckingTheCourts #WhitewashingTheBench

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