Oklahoma Chamber of Commerce Jumps Into Judicial Fray
October 24, 2012
The Oklahoma Chamber of Commerce will soon publish ratings for Oklahoma Supreme Court justices up for retention election this November – a move that has the state’s legal aristocracy aghast. One lawyer called the prospect of the business group rating judges “a danger for us all.” Other lawyers called the rating system “flawed” and based on a “very distorted vision.”
So if the Chamber is unqualified to judge judges, who should do the job? Why, the lawyers themselves! Indeed, the Oklahoma Bar Association modestly asserts that “the best information available on justices and judges is from the lawyers who practice before the courts …” The Bar has set up a website with “helpful” information about Oklahoma justices up for retention – such as the critical fact that Justice Yvonne Kauger was National Delta Zeta of the year for 1988 and that she “enjoys going to Estate Sales on Sundays – after attending All Soul’s Episcopal Church.”
Of course, the Bar never mentions that the Oklahoma Bar Association itself plays a decisive role in picking justices in the first place. All of which makes it evident that the real objection here is the legal elites who want to keep judicial selection a clubby, insider’s game – and the Chamber is threatening to crash the party.