Catholic bishops: It is time for Oklahoma to fix judicial nominating process

As we face a future where decisions on issues such as abortion are increasingly left to state legislatures and state courts, it is imperative that Oklahoma have a judicial nominating procedure that models the federal process.

A bill currently before the Oklahoma Legislature seeks to fix this problem. Senate Joint Resolution 43 authored by Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat would align the state judicial nominating process to a system similar to the one established in the U.S. Constitution. The governor would appoint all appellate judges, including the Oklahoma Supreme Court, which would be subject to confirmation by the legislative branch. The system currently leaves the choice to the Judicial Nominating Committee instead of elected leaders.

Why is this process important?

When the abortion industry brings lawsuits challenging laws in other states, they do so in federal court. In Oklahoma, abortion businesses file lawsuits in state court since Oklahoma’s appointment process doesn’t involve the input or approval of elected leaders. Due to the peculiar way we appoint appellate judges in Oklahoma, we find ourselves in a situation where our state’s highest court consistently strikes down valid anti-abortion state legislation that would have been upheld had it been challenged in federal court.

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