| January 2, 2014

Watch the high court, cut the high rate

Has the Oklahoma Supreme Court sworn off its addiction to policymaking? That’s the question Andrew Spiropoulos, OCPA’s Milton Friedman Distinguished Fellow, asked in a recent Journal Record column. The court’s rejection of a constitutional challenge to the new workers’ compensation reform law gives Professor Spiropoulos reason for optimism. Nevertheless, he remains concerned about the possibility of enacting other important policy reforms in the future (criminal justice reform, for example). “The court must give the Legislature the breathing space it needs to craft integrated solutions to problems with multiple dimensions,” he writes.

What is evident is that this [workers’ comp] case should not cause those of us concerned about an excessively political judiciary to relax our vigilance. If we are indeed witnessing improvement in the court’s analysis of single-subject problems, it vindicates public criticism of the court’s shoddy reasoning in past cases. We should continue to follow in the footsteps of Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt, both fervent critics of the judiciary. They understood that it takes the power of public opinion to shake sense into a complacent court.

As for the Court’s subsequent decision to strike down a new law which coupled an income-tax cut with a plan to finance the repair and renovation of the state Capitol building, Spiropoulos touched on that topic in his latest column, though he withheld comment on the legal merits and instead set forth an important policy prescription. In the 2014 legislative session, he says, Oklahoma policymakers must enact “a tax cut that, without gimmicks or triggers, reduces the highest rate to less than 5 percent.”

You can read the entire column here.

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