Efforts to change or end Oklahoma’s merit selection system: dormant or dead?

March 2011 saw a litany of activity in Oklahoma as the state’s Senate pushed two bills to modify or end the state’s merit selection process for appellate judges. Since then, and up to March 2012, the efforts have failed to advance leading to the question of whether the bills or dormant or dead.

SB 621 requires any appointment or reappointment by the Governor to fill a judicial office be confirmed by a majority of the senate.

SJR 36 outright ends the state’s merit selection system, allowing future governors to appoint any qualified person with senate confirmation.

Neither bill has advanced in 2012 and, perhaps even more interestingly, there has been no additional bills related to the state’s merit selection system introduced.

It may theoretically be possible for the two Senate bills introduced in 2011 to be taken back up by the House; they both remain pending in the House Rules Committee. Under the House’s deadlines, the bills but advance out of the House committee by April 12.