Gavel Grab

JAS: Oklahoma Anti-Merit Measure Would ‘Turn Back the Clock’

Oklahoma flagThe Associated Press reports that justices on Oklahoma’s “highest appellate courts would be elected, not appointed, under a plan narrowly approved by a House committee.”  Justice at Stake responded with a statement pointing out that Oklahoma instituted merit selection for its highest courts starting in 1967, as a good-government measure meant to address a corruption scandal on the state’s Supreme Court.

“Oklahoma made a deliberate decision to choose appellate judges through merit selection beginning in 1967 after scandals surrounded three state Supreme Court justices,” Justice at Stake Interim Executive Director Liz Seaton said in the statement. “Anyone who thinks that contested elections are inherently a better way to choose judges needs to check the facts; judicial elections increasingly involve hardball politics, special interest spending and candidates for the bench dialing for dollars. Why turn back the clock now?”

According to the AP, the Oklahoma House Elections and Ethics Committee voted 4-3 on Wednesday to advance the measure to the House floor.


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