The Norman Transcript

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January 2, 2011

Nichols tapped for key position Senator to have role in redrawing judicial lines

NORMAN —

State Sen. Jonathan Nichols, R-Norman, will play an important role in determining whether the Legislature will redraw Oklahoma’s judicial districts based on 2010 Census data. 

Nichols, R-Norman, will serve as Judicial Vice Chairman on the Senate Redistricting Committee, Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman announced Friday.

The Committee will soon consider adjusting district boundaries to accommodate reapportionment and population changes throughout the state.  Oklahoma’s Supreme Court district boundaries have remained constant since 1968, while Congressional and legislative boundaries have been adjusted to account for population changes every ten years. 

“I’m honored to have been chosen for this position and I look forward to working with committee members throughout the redistricting process,” said Nichols, an attorney and former Cleveland County prosecutor.  “Oklahoma’s Constitution clearly vests the legislature with the responsibility to make any needed changes in judicial boundaries.  The Constitution further grants the legislature authority to review and amend the size of the Court to ensure efficiency and proper apportionment.”  

The Oklahoma Constitution sets the number of Supreme Court Justices at nine but then further provides until the number shall be changed by statute, and each Justice shall be from a separate district of the state.

    Bingman said Nichols will help serve as a point person in the senate on activity and issues related to judicial reapportionment.

          “We have a responsibility to preserve fairness in the electoral process, and redistricting is a very important part of that effort,” Bingman said. 

Nichols responsibilities will also include reviewing the Courts of Criminal and Civil Appeals in light of the new census data. 

The Court of Criminal Appeals is Oklahoma’s highest court for criminal matters.  The Court of Civil Appeals is an intermediate appellate court in the State of Oklahoma.  Its cases are assigned to it by the Oklahoma Supreme Court, the State’s highest court for civil matters.

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