Oklahoma Judicial Nominating Commission Under Attack By GOP

Oklahoma Republican Representative Kevin Calvey continues to challenge the Oklahoma Supreme Court process for nominating judges for appellate courts. Within the State of Oklahoma, nominations are provided to the governor and the chief justice by a panel of lawyers and non-lawyers who are members of the Judicial Nominating Commission.

The commission was originally established in an effort to advocate for non-partisan influence in judicial positions and is supported by the Oklahoma Bar Association. According to the Oklahoma Bar Association, the constitution was amended following the impeachment of three justices of the Oklahoma Supreme Court in 1967. The amendment has proven effectiveness of the Judicial Nominating Commission by eliminating any further criminal charges of bribery or tax evasion by judicial positions since the adoption.

State Representative Kevin Calvey proposed a bill which was recently passed and involves eliminating the nomination process by the Judicial Nominating Commission and instead establishing elections for judicial positions.

Mr. Calvey initially called for a review of the Judicial Nominating Commission last year alleging a violation of the Open Meetings Act as a result of allegations made regarding submissions of solely Democratic parties and an absence of Republican consideration for judicial nomination in Pottawatomie County.

Mr. Calvey’s bill remains controversial and is opposed by the Oklahoma Bar Association. If the bill is passed by legislature, then it could entirely alter the independence of the judiciary system.