H. Dale Cook

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H. Dale Cook (April 14, 1924 - September 22, 2008) was an American federal judge. He served on the bench from 1974 to 2008.

Early life[edit]

Cook was born in Guthrie, Oklahoma on April 14, 1924, and graduated from Guthrie High School in 1942. In 1943 he joined the U.S. Army Air Corps, and was commissioned as an Air Corps 2nd lieutenant. He trained fighter pilots and served on active duty until October 1945. He served in the Air Force Reserve until 1953.

Cook graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a bachelor’s degree in 1949 and a law degree in 1950.

He served as Logan County attorney from 1951 to 1954, and as assistant U.S. attorney from 1954 to 1958 in Oklahoma City. From 1963 to 1965, he worked as legal counsel and adviser to then-Governor Henry Bellmon.

Cook then returned to private law practice from 1965 until 1971, while he also served as the chairman and president of the Shepherd Mall State Bank from 1969–1971, when he left for Washington, D.C. to serve as director of the Bureau of Hearings and Appeals of the Social Security Administration.[1]

Federal judge[edit]

In 1974, Cook was appointed a federal district court judge. Cook was nominated by President Gerald Ford on December 2, 1974, to a seat vacated by Luther L. Bohanon; he was confirmed 16 days later. He became chief judge of the Northern District of Oklahoma court in February 1979 and held that role until early 1992, when he took senior status. He continued hearing cases until 2008.

In the 1980s, Cook and other federal judges in his district presided over thousands of cases as the civil docket in Oklahoma swelled due to the region-wide oil bust and savings and loan scandal.

In July 2009, Congressman John Sullivan submitted a bill to rename the Federal building and United States courthouse in Tulsa, Oklahoma the "H. Dale Cook Federal Building and United States Courthouse."[2] That bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives and proceeded on to the U.S. Senate. The bill died in the Senate's Committee on the Environment and Public Works because Chair Barbara Boxer (D-CA) never brought the bill for a vote in the committee, despite the fact that it had been placed on the committee's agenda at least twice. Though the entire Oklahoma congressional designation (including Democrats) supported the bill, some local Democrats in Oklahoma complained that they didn't want the building named after a Republican, despite the fact that Cook, when Chief Judge of the Northern District of Oklahoma, had been responsible for restoring the building.


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