Four Supreme Court Justices on Retention Ballot
Names of four Oklahoma Supreme Court justices will appear on
the retention ballot in the Nov. 8 general election. They are
Justice Marian P. Opala of Oklahoma City, Justice Yvonne Kauger
of Colony, Justice Hardy Summers of Muskogee and Justice Joseph
M. Watt of Altus.
Marian P. Opala, whose judicial career began in 1977, has been
serving as justice of the Oklahoma Supreme Court since Nov. 21,
1978. He was chief justice from 1991 to 1993. Before his
appointment to the bench, he practiced and taught law, served as
Supreme Court referee (commissioner) and later as the
administrative director of the courts.
Both his undergraduate and law degrees are from Oklahoma City
University, his master's degree (in law) from New York
University. The author of numerous legal papers, he is adjunct
professor in three law schools _ at the University of Oklahoma,
Tulsa University and Oklahoma City University _ and a frequent
lecturer at various national judicial and legal education
Since 1982 he has been an Oklahoma commissioner to the
National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws and an
elected member of the American Law Institute. In December he was
appointed a member of the Administrative Conference of the United
Yvonne Kauger is a fourth generation Oklahoman from Colony who
was born in Cordell. She was appointed to the Oklahoma Supreme
Court on May 22, 1984, by Gov. George Nigh. Kauger has served as
presiding judge for the court on the judiciary, and on the Law
School and Bench and Bar Committees of the Oklahoma Bar
Association. She founded the Gallery of the Plains Indians in
Colony and co-founded Red Earth.
She has acted as symposium coordinator for The Sovereignty
Symposium, a seminar on Indian Law sponsored by the Oklahoma
Supreme Court, since its inception in 1987. Justice Kauger was
valedictorian of her high school class and graduated first in her
class at OCU School of Law.
She was the featured speaker at the Twentieth William O.
Douglas Lecture Series at Gonzaga University in November 1990,
and has been named a distinguished alumnus by OCU and
Southwestern Oklahoma State University.
Justice Hardy Summers is from Muskogee. He was born there in
1933. His father, Cleon A. Summers, was a former United States
attorney, and his uncle, E.A. Summers, was a longtime district
judge. Justice Summers attended OU for both his bachelor's degree
and law degree. In law school he was honored by being named note
editor of the Oklahoma Law Review and admitted to the Order of
After finishing law school in 1957, he served three years in
the U.S. Air Force as a judge advocate. He then returned to
Muskogee where for two years he was assistant county attorney.
In 1962 he joined the firm of Fite, Robinson and Summers and
practiced law until 1976, when he was appointed district judge by
Gov. David Boren. For the next eight years he was chief judge for
Muskogee County, and also regularly held court in Wagoner,
Cherokee, Sequoyah and Adair counties. In 1984 he was elected
president of the Oklahoma Judicial Conference. …