Even though they ruled against us in our open records lawsuits a few years ago, we still like to give it up to the Oklahoma judicial branch for being the last remaining source of semi-sanity in Oklahoma state government. Sure, the courts may have cozy relationships with law enforcement and some judges may pump their penis in court or dabble in pro wrestling, but for the most part, we can count on them to be a firewall that blocks all the discriminatory, unconstitutional laws our Derplahoman lawmakers and governor try to force down our throats.
Well, that is unless Mary Fallin and some of her pals in the Oklahoma legislature get their way. They’re both taking steps to try to bring the judicial branch down to their sad, ideological level…
Last week, Governor Mary selected Patrick Wyrick to serve on the Oklahoma Supreme Court. He’s a 35-year-old solicitor general for the Attorney’s General office. His big claim to legal fame is being called out for lying to the US Supreme Court, which is probably what helped secure the appointment.
Gov. Mary Fallin on Thursday named Patrick Wyrick of the Oklahoma attorney general’s office to serve as a justice on the state Supreme Court.
Wyrick, 35, will fill the opening left by the retirement of Steven Taylor, who was appointed by Gov. Brad Henry.
Since 2011, Wyrick has served as solicitor general in the attorney general’s office, representing the state before the U.S. and Oklahoma supreme courts, as well as other federal and state courts.
He also authored attorney general opinions and served as a key legal adviser to a variety of state officials.
I’m not a legal scholar. I don’t know if Wyrick would be a good judge or not, but his background as a henchman for Scott Pruitt is pretty damn scary. Who will he work for as judge? The Oklahoma people or Devon Energy? What if any earthquake or environmental-related lawsuits make the Supreme Court. Will he be fair and impartial?
For now, it looks like we may have to wait for answers to those questions. Apparently he isn’t eligible for the job…
The Oklahoma Democratic Party is challenging Gov. Mary Fallin’s appointment to the state Supreme Court, saying he doesn’t live in Supreme Court District 2 in southeastern Oklahoma.
The party released a statement Monday saying Fallin’s selection of Solicitor General Patrick Wyrick to the state’s highest court shows “a callous disregard for the Oklahoma Constitution.”
The state Constitution requires Supreme Court justices to be at least 30 years old, a licensed practicing attorney or judge for at least five years and a “qualified elector” — or voter — within the district for at least a year.
Wyrick has lived in the Oklahoma City area in central Oklahoma for about a decade, although he is from Atoka and owns property there.
Wow. Is Mary Fallin not the most incompetent governor in Oklahoma history? She can’t even nominate a right-wing conservative judge without screwing it up! Then again, we should probably just be happy she didn’t nominate Judge Judy or Judge Reinhold. I think they were her other choices.
While Mary Fallin is out nominating judges who are not technically eligible for the job, Oklahoma lawmakers are hard at work trying to politicize the judicial branch, and free it from the shackles of impartiality.
Check out this madness from The Tulsa World:
A Senate panel on Tuesday passed a number of bills that would make massive changes to the judiciary.
After securing approval from the Senate Judiciary Committee, the measures move to the full Senate for consideration.
“These are important reforms that would shift the balance of power in the judicial appointment process in Oklahoma away from trial lawyers and back to the people,” said Senate President Pro Tem Mike Schulz, R-Altus. “The governor and members of the Oklahoma Senate are directly elected by the people and on behalf of the people should have more say in which judges are appointed to the bench.”
The measures contain “common-sense options to implement much-needed judicial reform,” Schulz said.
Yeah, this isn’t good. Haven’t Oklahoma voters done enough harm over the years? Do we really want them having “more say” in selecting judges? If that happens, our Supreme Court will probably turn into a nine member tribunal composed entirely of megachurch pastors:
“All rise… bow your heads… and now pray.”
Here are more details via The World:
The Senate Judiciary Committee has passed 10 measures that would redraw judicial district boundaries, limit judicial service and alter the way Oklahoma judges are selected and retained. They are currently pending on the Senate floor.
Senate Pro Tem Mike Schulz, R-Altus, said the measures “would shift the balance of power in the judicial appointment process in Oklahoma away from trial lawyers and back to the people.”
“It is a concern to keep the judiciary reflective of what the people are thinking and responsive to them,” Schulz said.
But a member of the committee, Sen. Kay Floyd, D-Oklahoma City, said a judge is supposed to be a neutral referee who analyzes the facts of a case and the applicable law to arrive at a just decision.
“That’s like saying a referee at a sporting event should make every one of his calls based on how a crowd reacts,” said Floyd, a former administrative law judge and special municipal court judge in Oklahoma City. “That’s not the way the judiciary works.”
If the whole lawmaker thing doesn’t work out for Kay Floyd, maybe she should come write for us. I think she has what it takes. Maybe we can give her a point / counterpoint column with David Holt…
The panel also passed Senate Joint Resolution 14 by Sen. Nathan Dahm, R-Broken Arrow, which would increase the margin from a simple majority to 60 percent for the judicial retention ballot. The measure would have to be approved by voters.
Dahm was asked how he arrived at the 60 percent requirement.
Dahm said the state currently requires 60 percent to approve school bond issues. He pointed out that most judges are retained with more than 60 percent, so it would not result in sweeping changes.
Sen. David Holt, R-Oklahoma City, asked Dahm if he was considering extending the 60 percent retention requirement to incumbent lawmakers.
Dahm said Holt could bring such a bill forward if he wanted to pursue it.
Sen. Kay Floyd, D-Oklahoma City, said it was not clear to her why Dahm was requiring a 60 percent vote for retention. She questioned why lawmakers would put a 60 percent requirement on judicial retention and not on legislative elections as well.
Dahm said research has shown that the Oklahoma judiciary does not represent the vast majority of the views of the state’s population.
Floyd said a judge is required to listen to the facts and decide a case based on the law.
That’s cute. Ms. Floyd thinks Oklahoma GOP lawmakers accept facts. I guess she doesn’t know they quit believing in them a long time ago.
Anyway, hopefully common sense prevails and Oklahoma lawmakers leave our judicial branch alone. I’m not confident. As you know, our lawmakers love nothing more than making Oklahoma an even worse place to live. Politicizing the judicial branch will definitely help carry out that mission.