The Oklahoman Editorial Board recently published an opinion piece called “Comments by Oklahoma Bar Association president are reason for concern.” The Editorial Board is concerned that the Oklahoma Bar Association has too much influence and is “too ideologically left-wing” to have that influence. Or rather, “critics” are concerned about this. Who these critics are remains a mystery.
The influence the Bar has is the ability to select 6 of the 15 members of the state’s Judicial Nominating Commission, which is the group that presents candidates for nomination to state appellate courts to the governor. The other 9 members come from a few sources: 6 of them are appointed directly by the governor, 1 is appointed by the Speaker of the House, 1 is appointed by the Senate pro tem, and 1 is voted in by the other members of the commission. This means that, as it stands now, the commission is completely controlled by the Oklahoma Republican Party, as the simple majority required for all commission decisions is guaranteed to stand for the foreseeable future.
Let’s imagine for a moment that the Bar appointees actually matter. What is it that the Oklahoman is so afraid of? Continue reading