CV NEWS FEED // Reversing pro-abortion laws is more about appointing conservative lawmakers and judges than seeking to make the general public pro-life, according to a conservative Oklahoma think tank.
According to the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, it is most important to select judges who rule based on the constitution, rather than “personal political preferences.”
“[T]hat means pro-life Oklahomans must support repeal of the Oklahoma Judicial Nominating Commission (JNC), a secretive group dominated by left-wing attorneys who effectively control judicial selection in Oklahoma, leading to the appointment of left-wing judges,” wrote Ray Carter, the director of OCPA’s Center for Independent Journalism.
Carter wrote that the Oklahoma JNC, a group of 15 attorneys, also “gives outsized power to Democratic partisans to select state judges.” In general, the JNC attorneys overwhelmingly donate to Democratic campaigns as well.
In addition, the JNC does not hold public meetings,” Carter added. “The group does not interview candidates in public. And the commission does not reveal how members vote on judicial nominees.”
Carter noted that the governor is allowed to appoint six “lay members” to the JNC, but only three can be of the governor’s political party. To attempt to balance the 15-member mainly-Democratic JNC, Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt is only allowed to appoint three Republicans.
Research shows that judges in Oklahoma are overwhelmingly more “leftist” than in other states, due to judicial appointments from the JNC.
“Since the Oklahoma Judicial Nominating Commission (JNC) was established in 1967, the typical judge appointed to the Oklahoma Supreme Court via the JNC process has been consistently liberal,” Carter wrote. “Even liberal states like California, New York, and Massachusetts had periods in which their courts were more conservative than Oklahoma’s justices.”
After the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022, Oklahoma’s justices began to pass pro-abortion legislature. In March 2023, the justices declared that the Oklahoma Constitution “protects the right of a woman to terminate her pregnancy in order to preserve her life.”
According to Carter, the articles of the state constitution cited by the justices in their 2023 ruling do not have “any direct link” to abortion.
Katie Glenn, state policy director for Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, told Carter that after Roe was overturned, Oklahoma’s only allowed abortion to save the life of the mother. However, Glenn added that the Oklahoma Supreme Court “effectively rewrote” the law to allow the abortionist to determine when a medical emergency exists.
“They are deferring, solely, to the abortionist through their definition,” Glenn told Carter. “And without JNC reform, there is really not a way for us to stop them. I think that is the real-life stakes of when you’ve got judges who don’t match the people.”