NORMAN — Before statewide court reform in 1967, Oklahoma judges were elected as part of our partisan statewide elections. Judges had to spend time gathering donations and campaigning. Those judges are now appointed by the governor and sit for retention at term’s end.
On Tuesday, four state Supreme Court justices — Noma Gurich, Yvonne Kauger, James E. Edmondson and Douglas L. Combs — are up for retention. We believe all deserve another term on the bench. The judicial rating system provided by an outside group appears to be a lawful but overly shallow attempt at judicial intimidation.
Three Court of Criminal Appeals judges — Clancy Smith, Arlene Johnson, David B. Lewis — are on Tuesday’s ballot as are five Court of Civil Appeals judges — Thomas Thornbrugh, William C. Hetherington, Kenneth L. Buettner, Robert Bell and E. Bay Mitchell. We believe all are deserving of another term.