Judicial elections, democratic appointment (e.g., senate confirmation), and the Missouri Plan (a/k/a "merit selection")

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Monday, April 4, 2022

Oklahoma Senate Votes to Replace Supreme Court Nominating Commission with Senate Confirmation

 The Oklahoma Senate recently voted to replace the state’s current bar-privileging method of supreme court selection with a more democratic appointment process including senate confirmation of the governor’s nominee.

Oklahoma Supreme Court selection currently centers on judicial nominating commission (“JNC”) with six of its fifteen members selected by the state’s bar. The governor must appoint one of the three finalists chosen by the JNC. Oklahoma’s JNC has been criticized for its secrecy.

 To reform this system, the Oklahoma Senate recently passed  Joint Resolution 43 which, if approved by Oklahoma’s House and voters, would amend the Oklahoma Constitution to abolish the current JNC and instead follow the United States Constitution in subjecting the governor’s supreme court nominee to senate confirmation.

The Oklahoma Senate has previously sought similar change.