The Norman Transcript

Columns

January 11, 2014

Politicians seek to destroy justice

(Continued)

NORMAN —

All of this is transpiring because politicians, like small children, are angry because they can't get their way.

The proposed judicial "reforms" will lead to judges’ rulings based on personal political opinions, not the rule of law. It will lead to our judiciary being corrupted by campaign contributions, as has happened in the legislative and executive branches of government, both in Oklahoma and nationally.

One proposed change would bring Washington, D.C.-like politics into how judges are selected by setting up partisan political confirmations by the state Senate. Another would force judicial candidates to run as partisan political candidates.

These proposals would bring political ideology into consideration of judicial appointments and elections rather than an appointee's legal skills and understanding of law and our constitutional rights.

Another proposal would remove the people's participation in helping select judges by weakening or eliminating Oklahoma's independent Judicial Nomination Commission. Such an unworthy idea would allow politicians and political power brokers to place cronies in positions on the bench instead of qualified, thoughtful legal minds.

All of these ideas are a blatant effort by politicians and their allies to cleanse the judiciary of capable, independent jurists who have refused to do their bidding. The plan is to force good judges from the bench so politicians, like T.W. Shannon, can replace them with a biased and a more reactionary, politically driven group of activist judges.

Right now, Oklahoma judges are chosen by the governor from a list of qualified candidates forwarded by a citizen-led judicial nomination commission. It's not a perfect system, but it's the best system in the world. But that could change — if good people don't stop these new proposals.

Kenneth Corn is chairman of the board for The Society For A Better Oklahoma. He can be reached at kenneth@blaketrucking.com.

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