Gov. Kevin Stitt named John M. O'Connor as the next attorney general in a ceremony on Friday in Tulsa.
“You don’t have to read a newspaper before you realize there are some very serious issues pending that will affect our state,” the Tulsa attorney said in a speech Friday morning.
O'Connor currently practices commercial law in Tulsa and has spent 40 years working as an attorney. He received his law degree in Tulsa. He also served in several community organizations.
“I’m also grateful for the judges before whom I’ve appeared. It is so incredibly important to our system that we trust our judicial system,” said O’Connor.
O’Connor said he would work to overturn the 2018 Supreme Court's McGirt decision. The ruling restored the boundaries of tribal criminal jurisdiction to 19th century treaty boundaries.
“If the question is will we oppose McGirt, the answer is yes. If the question is will we seek the overturning of McGirt, the answer is yes,” he said.
This historic decision raises questions about sovereignty for tribal members in other areas including taxation and extracting natural resources.
O’Connor also said he would work to oppose abortion rights if a Roe v. Wade case makes its way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
“I think that we’ll pay the price for abortion as a nation. Sometimes, the Supreme Court gets it wrong, we all know that,” he said.
He also said he would continue legal action against pharmaceutical companies accused of fueling the opioid epidemic.
The newly-appointed attorney general was nominated by former President Donald Trump in 2018 for federal judgeship.
However, the American Bar Association rated him unqualified to be a judge and the Senate judiciary committee never voted on his nomination that year.
“[Former] President Trump trusted John, and appointed him and nominated him to be a federal judge in 2018,” Stitt said at the announcement on Friday morning.
His appointment comes after a two-month search to replace Mike Hunter, who resigned from his post in May.
Hunter's term has about 18 months left in it.
O'Connor was sworn in during a ceremony Friday afternoon at the state Capitol in Oklahoma City.
He said he plans to run for attorney general in 2022, but that this was not a part of the conditions of his appointment by Stitt.