The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

4 January 2005

We wuz screwed

The Oklahoma Supreme Court has a Chief Justice and a Vice Chief Justice, who serve two years in these titles. After the two-year term expires, the Chief Justice drops back to the bottom of the list, and everyone else moves up, the Vice Chief Justice becoming Chief.

At least, that was the rule until last fall, when the Court changed its rule to allow the Chief Justice to serve a second consecutive term as Chief. Marion Opala, the Vice Chief Justice, has filed suit against Chief Justice Joseph Watt and the other Supremes, charging that the rule change was intentionally discriminatory and based largely on Opala's age — he's 83.

According to the suit, "defendants participated in, condoned and ratified the denial of equal protection toward plaintiff," and what's more, "as [a] result of the rule change, plaintiff has been deprived of the opportunity to earn additional income and to achieve the prestige of the position of chief justice."

Senate Bill 1075, passed last year, set the annual salary of a Supreme Court Justice at $113,571, with an additional $4000 going to the Chief Justice, effective July 2005.

Posted at 7:08 AM to Soonerland