The Norman Transcript

Breaking News

Columns

November 3, 2013

Keep political influence out of state judiciary

NORMAN — Discussion is under way in our state about “reforms” that should be made to our state’s system of judicial selection.

In fact, a legislative interim study will take place at the state Capitol this week to further delve into those issues. Our current method of choosing judges is the right one for our state because it is the one best suited for keeping politics out of our courtrooms.

Fifty years ago, when justice was for sale, politicians appointed and confirmed Oklahoma’s appellate Supreme Court justices. There was no check on that authority. The result was a bribery scandal inside our highest state court.

Oklahomans found a new process, and it is still working. A Judicial Nominating Commission (JNC) was created by constitutional amendment in 1967. Today, the 15 JNC members are appointed in various ways.

The Oklahoma Bar Association elects six of its attorney members, the governor appoints six non-lawyer members, and three non-lawyer members are appointed at large — one by the president pro tempore of the Senate, one by the speaker of the House of Representatives and one selected by at least eight JNC members.

The membership is carefully designed to represent the various geographic parts of Oklahoma and the congressional districts as they existed in 1967.

While the legal expertise of attorneys is represented, by law, a majority of the membership must be non-attorneys. No political party is allowed to dominate the membership.

The JNC’s mission is to provide the governor with three candidates for appointment to an open appellate position on the Supreme Court, the Court of Criminal Appeals or the Court of Civil Appeals. Those candidates are determined based on qualifications and merit, not politics or the ability to raise political dollars.

The governor then selects from among the three qualified candidates and makes the judicial appointment.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Columns
  • Don’t let moderation confuse you

    Jeb Bush’s recent compassionate comments on immigration show how far apart he is from the far right of the Republican Party....

    April 20, 2014

  • Priest’s execution should spur action

    In the hierarchy of saints, martyrs are on the highest rung of the celestial ladder, at least for me....

    April 20, 2014

  • Settlers found opportunities in red dirt fields

    There are few constants in families where the teenagers and soon-to-be teenagers outnumber their parents. One things holds true at my home: Nobody gets out of bed in the morning before dear old Dad....

    April 20, 2014

  • NRA members need to step up

    Please, Mr. Bloomberg, leave the checkbook open, but step away from the podium. Your efforts to curb gun violence and improve safety are notable. The National Rifle Association thanks you....

    April 19, 2014

  • First, do no harm — to your bank account

    After being sued by the Wall Street Journal, the government finally released its Medicare reimbursement data last week. It included the less-than-stunning revelation that 28 of the 100 doctors who received the largest payments in 2012 were ...

    April 15, 2014

  • Reading between the lines

    Reading is such an improbable idea — a miracle, really. Yet simple squiggles on a page, arranged just so, can convey ideas that change the way we think or introduce to us characters we love for a lifetime. In celebration of reading — and ...

    April 15, 2014

  • CCFI tackling area’s child abuse problem

    Editor, The Transcript: To those of you who are reading this editorial, I assume you care or at least are entertained by the opinions of others. It is my hope and desire that when you read this editorial, you will care about the facts. ...

    April 12, 2014

  • Does Oklahoma need advice from Texas?

    Does Texas have a lock on “brilliant minds”? The names of Texans like Congressman Louie Gomert, Sen. Ted Cruz and that other guy ... I can’t think of his name ... oh yeah, Rick Perry come to mind very quickly. Add to that infamous list ...

    April 12, 2014

  • Why Comcast-Time Warner deal makes sense

    Say this about the deal announced Thursday for Comcast to buy Time Warner Cable: It’s big. Big price tag of $45 billion. Big combined subscriber base of 30 million households. And big risk of a veto from government antitrust regulators....

    April 12, 2014

  • Solid evidence within ice record

    In his November 10 Letter, Gary Reynolds misstated information in the October 27 op-ed by Catherine Hobbs, “New report says global warming is “unequivocal.” Mr. Reynolds incorrectly stated that Dr. Hobbs cited evidence from the 2007 UN ...

    April 12, 2014