Legislation Targeting Oklahoma Judiciary Stirs Debate

Sunday, April 13th 2014, 2:17 pm
By: News 9

Oklahoma lawmakers are considering tinkering with the way state Supreme Court justices and appellate court judges are selected for the first time since a bribery scandal rocked the state's highest court 50 years ago.

Legislation in the state House would alter the way some members are chosen for the 15-member Judicial Nominating Commission, which nominates candidates to be selected by the governor to fill judicial vacancies.

The Oklahoma Bar Association currently elects six members who are attorneys, but the measure would have them appointed by the leaders of the House and Senate.

Supporters say the change would help restore a balance of power they believe is missing between the state's three branches of government. Opponents say it's an attempt to influence judicial independence and inject politics into a non-partisan process.