The Norman Transcript


April 22, 2014

Hero of Haarlem … for common good



The bills deal with an overt attempt to politicize Oklahoma’s judiciary. Most were filed in response to the Oklahoma Supreme Court’s determination that last year’s Legislature failed to comply with the single-subject rule in the Oklahoma Constitution.

To understand the current situation, one must understand the not-too-distant past. For decades prior to the 1960s, county and appellate judges were selected by purely political means, and many judges served accordingly. That is not to say that there were not good, honest men and women who served on the bench at various levels with the utmost integrity.

However, the design of the system was such that judicial appointments were so politicized that undue influence was always a strong possibility and often a reality. As a result, in the early 1960s, the state was rocked by a judicial scandal of impropriety and corruption that reached the highest levels of Oklahoma’s judiciary.

With a goal of achieving a fair and impartial judiciary, Oklahoma’s Judicial Nominating Commission (JNC) was formed. The commission has worked well.

It began functioning in 1969 and nominates a pool of three candidates from which the governor may select one for appointment to fill vacancies on the Supreme Court, the Court of Criminal Appeals, the Court of Appeals, district and associate district judgeships and the Workers’ Compensation Court.

The JNC has jurisdiction to determine whether the qualifications of nominees to have judicial office have been met.

The JNC has 15 members who serve without compensation. Only six of the members may be lawyers. The six lawyer members are elected from six districts of the state by all of the attorneys residing or practicing in that region.

Nine members are non-lawyers. Six of the non-lawyers are appointed by the governor — one from each of the districts. Of the six members named by the governor, not more than three can belong to any one political party, and none can have a lawyer from any state in their immediate family.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Noting a life well lived

    James Garner never intended to be a movie and television star. He just kind of lucked into it, he would tell those who asked. If you have the itch to act, get a good-paying job and spend your free time at your local community theater, he ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Recount that really matters

    Americans have been hearing a lot about Congressional elections, but there’s another one halfway around the globe that will matter far more....

    July 22, 2014

  • Runoffs get no respect

    The Aug. 26 Republican runoff election for the Cleveland County District 3 commissioner post is one of only 18 races on ballots around the state. Only two races are statewide — the Democrat contests for U.S. Senator nominee and state ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Change some lines

    Editor, The Transcript: Looking at how our elected Republican friends are reacting to the refugee children crossing the border and now being housed in Lawton, I have a suggestion. Let’s edit the Christian Bible in several places to reflect ...

    July 21, 2014

  • New health care system demonized

    To the Editor: In October 2013, soon after we were asked to take over management responsibilities at our family business, we were visited by the company’s health insurance agent. She explained that a decision needed to be made regarding ...

    July 21, 2014

  • Norman Forward builds momentum

    The quiet campaign to build momentum for a citywide public works project is beginning to attract some attention....

    July 20, 2014

  • The longer the wait, the higher the cost

    Editor, The Transcript: Thanks for the great article of July 3 on the Norman chapter of the Citizens Climate Lobby group that recently went to D.C. as citizen lobbyists, working to get a revenue-neutral carbon pollution fee, refunded in ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Tax those trees out of here

    I read your editorial “Pesky red cedars” in the Norman Transcript of Tuesday, July 15, 2014. I have attended two meetings where the problem of the eastern red cedar trees was discussed. Because of the drought conditions in Oklahoma, we ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Make gun safety a health issue

    Quick, are you more likely to die by a bullet or in a car crash? Common sense would seem to suggest the latter. Cars are everywhere. We are an auto-obsessed nation. To be American is to drive — everywhere. Teenagers itch to get behind the ...

    July 20, 2014

  • They just want to be free ... maybe

    Massoud Barzani, president of Iraq’s semiautonomous Kurdistan region, rattled many cages this month when he announced in parliament that the KRG would be moving ahead soon on a referendum on independence from Iraq. If Kurdistan goes ahead ...

    July 20, 2014