OK: Bill allows state’s top judges to criminally charge delegates to any future Art. V constitutional conventions

I mentioned last year here and here a series of bills that first started in Indiana that would put state judges in the position of sitting as an advisory body and/or grand jury over delegates in the event of some future constitutional convention under Article V of the U.S. Constitution. Oklahoma’s legislature now appears prepared to consider a similar measure.

Like the Indiana (law), Florida, Georgia (law), and Mississippi efforts before it Oklahoma SB 53 would take three of the state’s top judges (chief justice of Supreme Court, chief judge of Court of Civil Appeals, presiding judge of District Court in Oklahoma County) and make them an “advisory group” to enforce the state legislature’s instructions to any future Article V delegates. The judges would have to give their opinion if a delegate’s vote violated the legislature’s will; a delegate would also be allowed to get the group’s advice ahead of any action at the convention. If the judges determined the delegate exceeded the legislature’s directions, they would refer to delegate to the state’s Attorney General for prosecution for the new crime of failure to adhere to the legislature’s instructions.

While Indiana and Georgia enacted versions with judges serving in this advisory and quasi-grand-jury capacity, other states have been less inclined. The Florida House version of this bill, for example, removed the judge(s) from the advisory group when it was noted such a provision would violate the separation of powers provisions in the Florida constitution.

SB 53 has been prefiled for the 2015 session.