The Current Abortion Debate Shows the Need for the Repeal of the JNC


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Recent events at the United States Supreme Court have demonstrated the importance of judicial selection, both at the federal and state levels. Last week, a draft opinion for the United States Supreme Court, written by Associate Justice Samuel Alito in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, was leaked to the press. In the draft opinion, Judge Alito wrote what pro-lifers have spent decades waiting to read: “We argue that deer and Casey must be cancelled.

If the draft becomes the opinion of the Court, it would be a massive victory for the conservative legal movement. Led by the Federalist Society, the conservative legal movement has worked for decades to put judges on the federal bench who believe “it is categorically the province and the duty of the judiciary to say what the law is, not what it should be”. deer is seen by some as the ultimate test of whether this strategy worked, not because of the politics of abortion, but because it was a blatant example of the Court creating the law as it happened. as you go.

Oklahomans celebrating the potential overthrow of deer and Casey should pay particular attention to judicial reform, not in Washington, but in Oklahoma City. After all, although the careful appointment of justices and judges at the federal level may end deer, negligence in the selection of Oklahoma lawyers can undo all that work. Thus, a strong reform of Oklahoma’s judicial selection process is needed.

“While the careful appointment of justices and justices at the federal level may spell the end of Roe, carelessness in selecting Oklahoma’s jurists may undo all that work.”

SJR 43 is a bill that, if passed, would have Oklahomans vote on a ballot measure to restructure how Oklahoma places judges and justices in its courts of appeals. Currently, the process begins with the Judicial Appointments Commission, which submits three names to the governor to choose from. SJR 43 would allow Oklahomans to move to something closer to the federal model where the governor appoints judges and judges with legislative confirmation.

One question pro-life Oklahomans should be asking is whether our state’s Supreme Court—effectively chosen by unelected bureaucrats—would find an abortion right in the state constitution. It’s “very possible,” according to the ACLU Oklahoma executive director. Tamya Cox-Touré was recently quoted as saying, “It is very possible that our Supreme Court in the State of Oklahoma could conclude that there is a right to abortion in our State Constitution. And according to the Court itself, its assertion may not be far from the truth.

During the 2021 legislative session, the Oklahoma Legislature passed five abortion bills that were challenged in court. A pro-abortion group called Oklahoma Call for Reproductive Justice (OCRJ) issued the challenge, only making claims under the Oklahoma Constitution. Unlike Kansas, whose state Supreme Court has recognized the right to abortion under the Kansas Constitution, the Oklahoma Supreme Court has never recognized such a right. Despite this, the Oklahoma Supreme Court blocked the pro-life laws from taking effect pending appeal.

“It is very possible that our State Supreme Court in Oklahoma could find that there is a right to abortion in our state constitution.” — Tamya Cox-Touré, Executive Director of the ACLU Oklahoma

In dissent, Judge Rowe noted that the OCRJ “has never asserted federal constitutional claims in the trial court, but rather chose to assert claims under the Oklahoma Constitution exclusively. We have never recognized the right to abortion under the provisions of the Oklahoma Constitution. Dobbs decision – and the feeling that it could lead to the end of deer and Casey– it is likely that the OCRJ purposely asserted its claims under the Oklahoma Constitution. If the Oklahoma Supreme Court finds that the right to abortion is enshrined in the Oklahoma Constitution, it could eliminate some or all of the effects of the Dobbs decision.

The ACLU is therefore not crazy to think that the Oklahoma Supreme Court could invent in the Oklahoma Constitution a right to abortion. Oklahomans ready to celebrate the end of deer and Casey must pick up the phone first. Their lawmakers need to hear they support SJR 43. And if the legislature sends it to voters, they’ll have to line up at the polls to make sure it passes.

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