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Judge ye not


Gazette staff June 13th, 2012

What does a business group do after it has the ability to call the shots in the Legislature, governor’s office and most other major political offices in the state?


Brad Gregg

Well, there’s always the judiciary — that pesky third branch of government that makes a reasonable attempt to remain free of influence from special interest groups.

And, as everyone knows, the best way to make sure that “true justice” is carried out is to stack the deck.

The State Chamber of Oklahoma is backing a project known as the Oklahoma Civil Justice Council, that would “rate” judges on the Court of Civil Appeals and the Oklahoma Supreme Court on a zero-to-100 scale, based on expansion of liabilities and existing law.

State Rep. John Bennett, R-Sallisaw, scolded the pro-business group for taking its agenda to the courts: “I am outraged that any group is attempting to bully the independent judiciary here in Oklahoma. The Appellate and Supreme Court justices have one litmus test when deciding cases: Is it constitutional?” It’s no surprise, then, that Bennett is featured in the State Chamber’s “2011 Most Wanted” list on account of his “anti-business votes.”

Former State Supreme Court and Court of Appeals Judge Daniel Boudreau told Tulsa World that while there’s nothing wrong with evaluating judges, it should be for the right reasons, rather than whether a decision was deemed anti-business.

“The judiciary is there to protect the weak from the powerful, the minority from the majority, the poor from the rich. Essentially, it protects citizens from the excesses of government,” Boudreau said.

Protecting the weak, minority and poor from the powerful, majority and rich? Sounds like someone hasn’t brushed up on the State Chamber’s list of “Oklahoma Values.”

 
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