The Norman Transcript

Opinion

February 8, 2014

It’s not broken

NORMAN — Oklahoma lawmakers, stung at least twice by the state’s high court, are currently pushing some changes in how the state chooses and keeps judges. The proposals include doing away with outright judicial appointments and putting limits on judge’s terms of office, much like lawmakers themselves.

The legislative proposals didn’t find much support from retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor on Thursday nightat a University of Oklahoma Associates Dinner on campus. The justice, who remains active at age 83, said she didn’t think most jurists stayed past retirement age anyway.

Justice O’Connor, who served as an Arizona state court judge before President Reagan appointed her to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1981, said appointments with periodic retention elections are preferred. It was dangerous to inject partisan politics into the court, she said.

That comment drew lots of nods from the local and state judges inside the Molly Shi Boren Ballroom in the Oklahoma Memorial Union. The state’s Bar Association and other legal groups are lining up against changes. The old adage appears to be at work here: If it’s not broke, why are we trying to fix it?

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