Commentary: Not Good for Oklahoma

Article excerpt

State Rep. John Bennett, R-Sallisaw, on Monday made public the list of people The State Chamber has on its Oklahoma Civil Justice Council.

That group, in conjunction with the Washington, D.C.-based Judicial Evaluation Institute for Economic Issues, intends to score the work of state Supreme Court and appellate justices.

The idea has been on the table for more than a year, but the discussion of its merits is now at the forefront.

To chastise a business lobby for trying to influence elected officials is as ridiculous criticizing a rhinoceros for charging.

But in this case, while The State Chamber surely believes it's looking out for its members, it is pursuing a bad idea that could hurt all Oklahomans.

Some have argued the judicial scorecards will be merely informational. That's unlikely, considering the very strong opinions expressed about legislators The State Chamber considers anti- business, as evidenced on the website WeAreWatchingThem.biz.

State Supreme Court justices, like state senators, serve six- year terms and come before voters on a retention ballot. In many other states and at the federal level, those are appointed positions. Either way, a justice's job is to interpret and apply the law that's on the books. …