OKLAHOMA CITY – State Representatives Justin Wood and Kevin Calvey today called for an investigation of the Judicial Nominating Commission (JNC), the panel that nominates judges in Oklahoma.
The legislators' call came in response to revelations that the JNC violated the state Constitution in an effort to shut out Republicans from being appointed to a vacant judicial post in Pottawatomie County.
State law requires the JNC to submit for the governor's appointment the names of three applicants for each vacant judicial post. Wood said four qualified persons applied for the “supposedly” non-partisan Pottawatomie County post: two Democrats and two Republicans. The JNC submitted only the names of the two Democrats to the governor in violation of the law.
“I've heard allegations that the JNC was biased toward Democrats before, but this proves it,” said Rep. Justin Wood, R-Shawnee. “And what's worse, now the JNC appears to have broken the law to perpetuate its bias. It's unfortunate that two quality applicants were shut out of the nomination process for what seems to be nothing less than partisan bias. It's also sad that the two qualified applicants sent to the governor for possible appointment are caught in this injustice, as well. I trust Governor Fallin's ability to appoint the right judge, regardless of party; it is apparent the JNC does not.”
Rep. Calvey, author of an interim study that will examine Oklahoma's court system, including the workings of the JNC, concurred with Wood.
“The JNC's liberal Democrat bias has been clear for years,” said Calvey, R-Oklahoma City. “That’s how we got the extremely liberal state Supreme Court we have – the Court that bans the Ten Commandments and allows predatory abortionists like the indicted Dr. Patel to victimize women without effective regulation.
“But this situation in Pottawatomie County is a new low for the JNC. There should be an investigation into whether there was a violation of the Open Meetings Act and into whether there was any collusion between the JNC and the current court system. If members of the JNC have violated their Constitutional oath to comply with the law on judicial appointments, they should no longer be allowed to serve on the JNC.