Friday, April 25, 2008

Judicial Selection May Have Become Less Mysterious in Oklahoma:

The judicial selection process in Oklahoma has always been something of a mystery to the vast majority of the population. Every election cycle, I get calls from friends, family and clients asking me who to vote for in the judicial elections. I never make recommendations and tell them truthfully, "For the most part, I don't know any more about them than you do."

But, if legislation passed yesterday in the Oklahoma House is enacted into law, Oklahoma judicial appointments would have to be confirmed by the Oklahoma Senate in a process similar to the federal system, where judicial candidates are voted upon after confirmation hearings. (Link to NEWSOK story HERE.) Under the bill, the people would be asked to vote to approve an amendment to Article VII of the Oklahoma Constitution as follows:

Any appointment by the Governor to fill a position, as provided by law, on an intermediate appellate court shall be confirmed by a majority of the Senate. Any appointment or reappointment, as provided by law, by the Governor to fill a position on the Workers’ Compensation Court shall be confirmed by a majority of the Senate.

Governor Henry is unhappy with the legislation and stating that measure would politcize the judicial selection process and that no changes are needed since the current system is working fine. Under the current system, the Governor has the final say on judicial appointments.


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