If you looked at my Ballot Picks in Vent #795, you will note that four judges of the state Supreme Court, running on a retention ballot, are conspicuous by their absence. This is consistent with my practice of long standing:
Once in a while an interest group will try to stir up opposition to a judge who has issued a ruling unfavorable to them, but seldom does it make any difference: judges are routinely returned to office with about a 2-1 majority. Before I took up the mantle of Sort of Political Blogger, my own rule of thumb was to vote against anyone I’d ever heard of, on the basis that if the judge had somehow gotten into the news, it likely wouldn’t have been good news.
Meanwhile, there’s no State Question 761 this year, as I explained already:
SQ 761 … “would define ‘person’ under the Constitution as any human being from the beginning of the biological development to natural death.” An initiative promoted by Daniel Skirbitz, head of the group Personhood Oklahoma, it was rejected by the state Supreme Court for conflict with Planned Parenthood of Southeast Pennsylvania v. Casey.
Comes now a robocall in which an individual identifying himself as a pastor notes said rejection, points out that the wicked ACLU is pleased by that rejection, and recommends that those four judges, as punishment, not be retained. He didn’t have time in those thirty seconds to mention the fact that SCOTUS declined to hear an appeal.
This is only the second mention of the retention ballot I’ve encountered this year, the first being a half-page ad for retention that ran in The City Sentinel and presumably other papers, paid for by a group called “Yes for Fair and Impartial Judges,” with an office in the Oil Center building on the Northwest Distressway. Patrick McGuigan has seen more, including a clumsy effort by John Miley of the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission and by “clumsy,” I mean that he was enough of a klutz to use his state-assigned email address to drum up support for the four judges, presumably because he’s married to one of them. Miley argued that it’s a nonpartisan ballot, therefore his actions were nonpolitical. If anyone deserves to be denied retention, it’s Miley, but of course he’s not on a ballot.
For the record, the judges seeking retention: Noma Gurich, Yvonne Kauger. Doug Combs and James Edmondson.
And if you’re not in Oklahoma but in Indiana, you might consider this.