Around The State
11:29 am
Mon August 19, 2013

Federal Bankruptcy Court Closes Shop In McAlester

Carl Albert Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse, McAlester, OK
Credit U.S. General Services Administration / Wikimedia Commons

The court functions in McAlester's federal building have shut down as a way to cut costs.

The last session took place on Thursday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District.

Federal courts have operated in McAlester for more than 100 years. Now, the federal building will house an FBI office and a credit union.

The McAlester News-Capital reports that Bankruptcy Judge Tom Cornish says the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver is closing satellite courthouses to trim its budget.

Cornish is not the only member of his family to serve in the federal judiciary. His brother Richard “Whitey” Cornish, served a U.S. magistrate and has also seen action on the bench at the federal courthouse.

The Cornish brothers’ father, William A. Cornish, and grandfather, Melven Cornish, also served as members of the federal judiciary, although in those days they were called U.S. commissioners. That makes Tom and Richard Cornish third generation members of the federal judicial system.

Richard Cornish said there has been a federal judicial presence in McAlester since the latter part of the 19th century.

“It’s sad, in as much as a federal court has been in McAlester since the 1890s,” he said.

Cornish will now preside in Okmulgee. He says he traveled to McAlester once every two months, typically to hear motions in bankruptcy cases.

McAlester is the last of the satellite courts to close in the Eastern District. Courts at Ada, Ardmore and Durant have already shuttered.