About OCPA

Judicial Reform

The people are sovereign, but judges are supposed to be independent. How do we reconcile these two ideas? First, by understanding that one is a bedrock principle, the other an idea about how to structure government. The test of a process or structure is how well it serves its purpose and aligns with principle. Judicial independence is about keeping judges out of politics and avoiding corruption in order to make it more likely that they uphold the rule of law. The power of judges, just like all government power, comes from the people.

Judges need to be independent enough that they are free to uphold the rule of law, but not so free that they can be lawless or corrupt. Ultimately the people must maintain some control over even this branch of government.

Oklahoma’s current structure for appointing judges is flawed. It allows an appointed commission to decide who can and who cannot become an appellate judge, denying the people any meaningful role in these appointments. Outdated judicial districts also skew the process and unnecessarily preclude many highly qualified individuals from consideration for judgeships. OCPA supports changes to the process and structure to give the people a meaningful say and to maximize the opportunity to find the very best people to serve on our courts.

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