Edmondson gives opinion on judicial nominating board

Jessica M. Karmasek Dec. 9, 2010, 3:49pm


OKLAHOMA CITY (Legal Newsline) - Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson, in a seven-page opinion issued Wednesday, said passage of State Question 725 is not retroactive and will not affect the current Judicial Nominating Commission.

The commission is charged with recommending nominees to the governor to fill judicial vacancies.

The ballot question was approved by voters in the general election. The commission's chairman, Allen Smallwood, had requested the attorney general's opinion on whether the measure would allow the panel to continue its process of filling a vacancy on the state Supreme Court. Justice Marian Opala died on Oct. 11 at the age of 89.

According to The Oklahoman, a total of 19 people have applied for Opala's spot on the Court. Smallwood told the paper 14 will be interviewed on Dec. 28.

The question added two at-large members to the nominating commission, which are to be named by the speaker of the state House and the president pro tem of the Senate. It also prohibits six non-lawyer members named by the governor from having lawyers in their immediate families.

Edmondson's opinion said the question's provisions will not affect members named prior to its passage.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by e-mail at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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