Response to Scandal Led to Current OK Merit System: Commentary

“Oklahoma literally and figuratively cannot afford having our judges being bought for political favors,” Julie Knutson writes in an Oklahoman op-ed, urging that the state’s current merit selection method for choosing top judges be left in place.

Knutson is president and CEO of The Oklahoma Academy. Regarding recent proposals to change the way top judges are selected (see Gavel Grab), she underscores decades-old history: In the 1960s, “several Oklahoma Supreme Court justices were removed from office due to taking kickbacks and bribes for favorable court rulings and decisions, which in turn caused the federal government to come to Oklahoma to clean up the corruption scandal, which led to a movement in judicial reform.”

One of the more controversial proposals would make revisions to the judicial screening commission process and give more influence to state legislators. Another would impose term limits on state Supreme Court justices.