Senator Warns Of Judicial Changes In Special Session

Jul 24, 2013

A letter from a state senator sent to judges in Oklahoma is warning that an anticipated special legislative session will focus on “attacking the judiciary.” But a spokesman for Gov. Mary Fallin says that assertion is “incorrect.”

State Sen. Patrick Anderson
Credit Oklahoma Senate

The letter from state Sen. Patrick Anderson (R-Enid) dated July 22 states, “Based upon some of the rumors I am hearing, I expect that there will be an attempt to place term limits on judges and that there will be an effort to eliminate the Judicial Nominating Commission in order to allow the Governor to have complete judicial appointment authority.”

Anderson says lawmakers should look inside their chamber before targeting judges. He says the justices on the state Supreme Court did their job when ruling that a law changing the way civil lawsuits were dealt with in Oklahoma was ruled unconstitutional.

Fallin has said she is considering calling a special session to put the lawsuit measure back on the books.

KGOU received a faxed copy of the letter from a judge Wednesday afternoon, who said state judges have heard the same rumors.

Sen. Patrick Anderson says he wrote this letter to warn Oklahoma's judges that an anticipated special legislative session could focus on "attacking the judiciary."
Credit KGOU

Fallin spokesman Alex Weintz responded to an email asking for a comment on Anderson’s letter. Weintz says the topic of the special session the governor is considering would address “lawsuit reform,” and Fallin is not considering judicial reform or any other issue.

Anderson says he is glad to hear the governor is not planning on expanding the topic for a possible special legislative session, but also encouraged KGOU to request records from the governor’s office dealing with changes to the judiciary.