Oklahoma House seeks to impeach half of the state Supreme Court

posted at 4:01 pm on April 26, 2014 by Jazz Shaw

This story hasn’t garnered a lot of attention nationally yet, but it definitely will be of interest in terms of questions surrounding activist judges and courts as well as issues of states’ rights. To put the background in thumbnail version, there are two criminals who were convicted of crimes involving children more heinous then I would care to detail on these pages. They were subsequently convicted and sentenced to death. However, in the course of the appeals process, the Oklahoma State Supreme Court granted a stay of execution. This riled not only the Governor, but several members of the House. (For a full and excellent background on the case, also involving some of the details of these terrible crimes – you have been warned – see this full summary at Redstate.)

While the issue of the stay has since been resolved, the matter wasn’t dropped. And now, the House is moving to address their complaints with the five justices who ordered the stay.

I mentioned yesterday that the recent order by the Oklahoma Supreme Court staying an execution had riled members of the legislature and the state’s governor who refused to acknowledge the order. According to media reports that stay has now been lifted however there is an effort underway to impeach the 5 justice majority that ordered the stay (h/t Gavel Grab for the pointer).

HR 1059 has now been introduced and is replicated below

HR1059 is a bit lengthy to begin pasting in pertinent sections here without turning this into a legal opus filled with far too many WHEREASs and all manner of legal speak for anyone to sit through, but you can follow the link above to read the text. The question here which will probably absorb observers for some time to come is whether rendering a judgement which the legislative and executive branches at the state level disagree with will be found as valid grounds to impeach them. There may be a sympathetic ear in many quarters (including yours truly) to say that setting aside the judgement of the lower court warrants kicking them out. But is that truly a valid reason for impeachment?

The reason I ask is that we have divided government with a lot of antipathy between the sides in many other states (not to mention in Washington) as well. If the courts render judgements we don’t like, providing they provide some sort of explanation in their written decisions, should we start giving them the boot? I’ll want to hear from some lawyers on this one, but it seems rather contrary to the entire concept of the separation of the powers of the three branches. What do you think?


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 2

No, this was statewide elections, as it was the State Supreme Court, and some of those Justices were from other counties.

Del Dolemonte on April 26, 2014 at 5:41 PM

Don’t get me wrong, but if they are American citizens, it shouldn’t matter.

upinak on April 26, 2014 at 5:43 PM

Impeach all those incompetent, neglectful justices!

bluegill on April 26, 2014 at 5:45 PM

While I disagree with the judges, I think impeachment is too far. It’s not like they set them loose or abolished the death penalty. They gave a stay of execution, something fairly routine. Should we impeach judges every time they make a decision we don’t like?

Hal_10000 on April 26, 2014 at 5:16 PM

when a civil court puts a stay on a completed criminal court procedure because killing the defendants may hurt them then you have issues in that court.

dmacleo on April 26, 2014 at 5:45 PM

See ya, wouldn’t wanna be ya!

bluegill on April 26, 2014 at 5:45 PM

Should we impeach judges every time they make a decision we don’t like?

Hal_10000 on April 26, 2014 at 5:16 PM

Not if it’s a matter of a fine for someone going 61 in a 60 zone, but for something as monstrous as this, absolutely YES! Are we to hold them to no standards at all?

VorDaj on April 26, 2014 at 5:45 PM

According to NewsOK:

Normally, in Oklahoma, the Supreme Court handles civil issues and the Court of Criminal Appeals handles criminal matters.

The Court of Criminal Appeals had not blocked the executions and Lockett was supposed to be put to death Tuesday.

If this is the case, there is just cause for the five justices to be impeached as they did not have the authority to stay the executions..

bw222 on April 26, 2014 at 5:50 PM

For those upset that the legislature would have the temerity to impeach sitting members of the state’s Supreme Court, I would remind them that the voters of CA got really upset with the anti-death penalty faction of the State Supreme Court back during the IIRC 2nd Moonbeam administration, and sacked the Chief Justice (Rose Bird), and two Associate Justices (Cruz and Reynoso) when it came time for their periodical voter review.
Even at the Federal level, one of the Supremes could be impeached if they really pissed enough people off – CJ Warren was a target for a long time, but was safe since the Dems controlled both the House and Senate during his tenure on the Very High Bench.
Normally, judges don’t get impeached over their judicial philosophy, but this particular incident could rub a lot of people the wrong way and leach over into Judicial Misconduct.

Another Drew on April 26, 2014 at 5:50 PM

Methink no matter how unacceptable and preposterous the stay was,outright impeachment could be a bad precedent and become a too edged sword which can be politicised in the future. Perhaps a middleground could be found.

ChildOfGod on April 26, 2014 at 5:54 PM

Of course there is always the problem of wanting the drugs used for execution to be safe and effective. That demonstrates some real lack of comprehension, there.

ajacksonian on April 26, 2014 at 5:55 PM

So, both of them will be executed on Tuesday.

Blake on April 26, 2014 at 5:56 PM

To get around this whole “cruel and unusual” crap, we need to mandate that all executions will be conducted in the same manner as was done in – say – 1800. I believe that would give the condemned a choice, if we wish to be magnanimous, between the firing squad, and hanging.
No ifs ands or buts – and none of this lounging around on death-row for 20-years crap either.

Another Drew on April 26, 2014 at 5:58 PM

Of course there is always the problem of wanting the drugs used for execution to be safe and effective. That demonstrates some real lack of comprehension, there.

ajacksonian on April 26, 2014 at 5:55 PM

Here’s the thing. Neither one of the convicts had been executed by lethal injection before, so I’m not sure they had standing to even bring a case. Now, if after the execution is over, they are free to bring a case of pain and suffering.

Until then, they’re just guessing.

BobMbx on April 26, 2014 at 5:59 PM

Malfeasance in office should be sufficient grounds for impeachment and should be applied to these justices and to a number of other officials in the federal government.

I can think of two, in particular, who have actively and openly flaunted and refused to enforce the laws they swore to uphold and further lied about it. The only reason they have not been and will not be impeached is that the current majority of the body empowered to do it is even more corrupt and degenerate.

Ay Uaxe on April 26, 2014 at 6:01 PM

Question:

There may be a sympathetic ear in many quarters (including yours truly) to say that setting aside the judgement of the lower court warrants kicking them out.

I’m not sure it was a lower court. Per streiff’s info at RS….

Oklahoma has two “supreme” courts. The Supreme Court of Oklahoma, which hears civil cases, and the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals.

The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals green lighted the executions. The attorneys for the condemned men filed a civil appeal with the Oklahoma Supreme Court objecting to the drugs. The Supreme Court granted an indefinite appeal.

What is the relationship between the two courts? And would this make any difference?

lineholder on April 26, 2014 at 6:05 PM

If they followed the constitution of the state, they should not be impeached. If on the other hand, they found penumbras and other things that are not in the constitution to do this, then they should be impeached.

Just like Justice Roberts and most if not all of the regressive Supreme Court Justices should be impeached.

I think states need to gain the power to dismiss federal judges, as they had before the 17th amendment. The constitution was created to bind the states to each other, not to have an all powerful dictatorial federal government.

astonerii on April 26, 2014 at 6:14 PM

Until then, they’re just guessing.

BobMbx on April 26, 2014 at 5:59 PM

They are just… precognitive! That’s the ticket! Physic and all that.

Yet it is the representatives of the people who get to lay out what is and is not just punishment. The squeamishness of judges should not over-ride the legislative branch in that, although a wise legislative branch would offer the convict a choice of methods so that a judge would not have to rule on the means but if the sentencing was properly carried out. I always admired UT about that, having firing squad, electrocution, lethal injection, and gassing available, way back when. Makes lots of sense to keep a few options handy for the condemned to go along with their last meal.

ajacksonian on April 26, 2014 at 6:15 PM

Methink no matter how unacceptable and preposterous the stay was,outright impeachment could be a bad precedent and become a too edged sword which can be politicised in the future. Perhaps a middleground could be found.

ChildOfGod on April 26, 2014 at 5:54 PM

Impeachment was put into the Constitution of the United States of America in order to prevent mobs killing politicians and judges when they get out of line. If you always leave impeachment on the sidelines, then what you are asking for is the people to be the ones to take actions. Is that what you want?
Either they followed the constitution or they did not. If they followed it properly, then they should get through impeachment just fine. If on the other hand, like so many judges, they found things between the lines, then better to be removed from office than…

astonerii on April 26, 2014 at 6:18 PM

I am not a big fan of the death penalty except in the most extreme and obvious cases.

I am a big fan of impeaching judges and pushing back against their undemocratic power.

K. Hobbit on April 26, 2014 at 6:25 PM

We had a POTUS, Bill Clinton who pardoned some bad a**ed criminals but it’s legal but not correct. Same thing here. I love the way Oklahoma handles their government. Wish we had it here in NY.

mixplix on April 26, 2014 at 6:26 PM

Actually the Federal Constitution says that judges can be impeached for lack of good behavior. That means rendering opinions that clearly do not uphold and defend the Constitution.

Constitutional attorney, Edwin Vieira author of “How To Dethrone the Imperial Judiciary” clearly makes the case for this in the book.

Clearly Marshall’s opinion in “Marbury vs Madison” about “judicial review’ granted an unconstitutional power/prerogative to the court that has lead to “judicial supremacy.”

This problem needs to be corrected. It needs to start at the state level probably. It will take a long time possibly to correct. Meanwhile, “nullification” is one possible answer to rogue courts and judges.

Falcon46 on April 26, 2014 at 6:26 PM

ChildOfGod on April 26, 2014 at 5:54 PM

When people choose the judiciary (to become judges) instead of a legislature to make law, they are defacto politicians, and such should be treated as such.

There is no talisman to point those individuals out, but over time a pattern will emerge, or if we’re lucky, this type of judicial activism makes the headlines.

BobMbx on April 26, 2014 at 6:29 PM

Judgment, not judgement.

boone on April 26, 2014 at 4:25 PM

Really? Ha!

texacalirose on April 26, 2014 at 6:46 PM

Constitution of the State of Oklahoma

In my role as constitutional scholar I think they have a case. For overturning the decision but not impeachmnent.

WHEREAS, the Opinion sets a troublesome precedent regarding the
exercise of what clearly is the exclusive jurisdiction by the
Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals in cases of this nature; and
WHEREAS, the Justices who have agreed to the majority Opinion
have exercised jurisdiction in a matter properly decided only by the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals; and WHEREAS, Justice Steven Taylor, Justice James Winchester,
Justice James Edmondson, and Justice Noma Gurich joined in a
dissenting opinion which correctly analyzed the Constitutional
issues applicable to the questions before the Oklahoma Supreme Court
and in which those Justices correctly concluded that: “The
Appellants have maneuvered this Court right where they set out to
put us and that is, for the first time in this Court’s relevant
history, in the middle of a death penalty appeal. We have never
been here before and we have no jurisdiction to be here now.”; and
WHEREAS, the Justices of the Oklahoma Supreme Court have taken
an oath to uphold the Constitution of the State of Oklahoma; and
WHEREAS, the Justices of the Oklahoma Supreme Court who authored
or supported the majority Opinion in the case have violated their
oaths of office based upon issuing a stay of execution in a criminal
case for which the jurisdiction ought to have been vested
exclusively with the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals;

The powers of the government of the State of Oklahoma shall be
divided into three separate departments:

The Legislative,
Executive, and Judicial; and except as provided in this
Constitution, the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial
departments of government shall be separate and distinct, and
neither shall exercise the powers properly belonging to either of
the others.

The appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court shall be co-extensive with the State and shall extend to all cases at law
and in equity; except that the Court of Criminal Appeals shall
have exclusive appellate jurisdiction in criminal cases until
otherwise provided by statute and in the event there is any
conflict as to jurisdiction, the Supreme Court shall determine
which court has jurisdiction and such determination shall be
final.

The Governor and other elective state officers, including the
Justices of the Supreme Court, shall be liable and subject to
impeachment for wilful neglect of duty, corruption in office,
habitual drunkenness, incompetency, or any offense involving
moral turpitude committed while in office
.

kcewa on April 26, 2014 at 6:46 PM

“What do you think?”

I think you should have spent time cutting and pasting some of those Whereas’s, Jazz, and particularly this one:

WHEREAS, Justice Steven Taylor, Justice James Winchester, Justice James Edmondson, and Justice Noma Gurich joined in a dissenting opinion which correctly analyzed the Constitutional issues applicable to the questions before the Oklahoma Supreme Court and in which those Justices correctly concluded that: “The Appellants have maneuvered this Court right where they set out to put us and that is, for the first time in this Court’s relevant history, in the middle of a death penalty appeal. We have never been here before and we have no jurisdiction to be here now.”; and

This was not their jusrisdiction, Jazz. They had no authority here and, thus, exceeded it. It shows a contempt for the Oklahoma Constitution, Oklahoma’s representative government, your precious divided government and separation of powers.

By issuing a stay, regardless of how quickly they removed it, set a precedent which cannot, must not, be ignored lest you establish a basis for ignoring the rule of law again.

The legislature has options for countering the precedent, but the only clear and convincing way of truly nullifying it is to expel the justices who created it. Anything less would leave the precedent for the court to act beyond it’s jurisdiction — at the whim of a majority — on the books, if you will, for continued debate and possible exercise.

Impeachment should not be seen as an elective act, here, but an absolute requirement if the public want the constitution and separation of powers in Oklahoma to mean anything.

Dusty on April 26, 2014 at 6:57 PM

How about we hire some of those unemployed UAW workers to..visit the justices at their homes?

KirknBurker on April 26, 2014 at 6:59 PM

Go Oklahoma! I would love to see just one government eject activist judges. We’ve had enough of it!

cajunpatriot on April 26, 2014 at 6:59 PM

The question here which will probably absorb observers for some time to come is whether rendering a judgement which the legislative and executive branches at the state level disagree with will be found as valid grounds to impeach them.

Yes.

Whitewolf7070 on April 26, 2014 at 7:14 PM

This was not their jusrisdiction, Jazz. They had no authority here and, thus, exceeded it.
Dusty on April 26, 2014 at 6:57 PM

I don’t think it’s that clear cut. The Supreme Court ruled because the inmates filed a civil suit and the Court of Criminal Appeals said it couldn’t weigh in on the stay request because it didn’t have the power (since it was a civil case), so the high court said a “rule of necessity” led to its 5-4 decision.

kcewa on April 26, 2014 at 7:15 PM

Does Congress upset the balance of power when they override a Presidents veto? No. Impeachment is a similar tool to counter the power of the Judiciary. I see no problem. Given how far all branches have strayed so far from the Constitution’s clear intent, I would like to see many in Congress impeached too along with the occasional chief executive to put the fear of The People in the whole den of snakes.

Uffda on April 26, 2014 at 7:19 PM

May daughter had this to say.

“Oklahoma has a weird setup. The OK Supreme Court has no jurisdiction in Criminal cases, the OK Court of Criminal Appeals is the highest court on Criminal cases. The OK Court of Criminal Appeals greenlighted the executions of the two murderers in question (who did some truly evil things, including burying alive one of their victims). The OK Supreme Court tried to take jurisdiction in a criminal case they had no jurisdiction in, violating the OK Constitution and law in the process, by issuing a stay of execution. Hours after the OK House passed a resolution to begin the process of impeachment against the 5 activist judges, these 5 activist judges (all appointed by Dems), backtracked and dissolved their stay on the executions. (There was a little more drama in that the criminals were attempting to violate a OK law to find out who the vendors of their lethal injection drugs were—which is protected information—and the Criminal courts had denied the cases—but it came down to the fact that the court tried to take control they didn’t have and are rightly getting slapped for it.”

This wasn’t about separation of powers the OK supreme court never had the right to rule in the first place

chemman on April 26, 2014 at 7:21 PM

Considering the facts of the two cases, I don’t think a stay based on “discomfort” to the condemned is justified. But hey, I’m just an ordinary citizen who doesn’t understand all the nuances. :-[

RebeccaH on April 26, 2014 at 7:28 PM

May daughter had this to say.

This wasn’t about separation of powers the OK supreme court never had the right to rule in the first place

chemman on April 26, 2014 at 7:21 PM

chemman, thanks so much! This puts a much clearer perspective on things.

PBH, are you listening?

Ricard on April 26, 2014 at 7:29 PM

It’s good to see that some other people went to the source, the OK Constitution, to see what the powers are, where they lie, & who should wield them.
From my simple woman’s view point the SCoOK Justices who issued the stay are ripe for impeachment.

AmyDB on April 26, 2014 at 8:14 PM

I would like to impeach almost half of the U.S. Supreme Court. But I don’t think it is appropriate in this Oklahoma case. Executions are so final, and it’s so important not to wrongly execute someone, that I’d much rather have too many stays than too few.

WannabeAnglican on April 26, 2014 at 8:16 PM

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oklahoma_Supreme_Court

According to wiki former gov. Brad Henry of Oklahoma nominated 6 of the current justices of the Ok. Supreme Court.They are undoubtedly dems.
What would you like to bet that they are the ones ready to let a convicted murder or two go due to the type of drugs used to kill them when they are executed. The defense and “the” big issue is that the drugs used to kill these convicted dirtbags might give them some discomfort. Well duhhh… they are supposed to kill them! I guess there would be a little bit of discomrt and rightly so!
You gotta wonder.
Get rid of these idiots and the sooner the better.

If you are not convinced here’s the background of the case considered by the Justices in Oklahoma from the Red State link:

The issue started out simply enough. Two men, condemned to death, were challenging their executions based on the drug combination used to execute them. One of them had shotgunned a teenage girl and buried her alive, the other had raped and murdered a young child, and they were concerned that the drugs used during the lethal injection process would cause them discomfort. As an aside, because of the political pressure placed on pharmaceutical companies, states using lethal injection are finding it difficult to obtain supplies of the necessary drugs. This has led states to start keeping the names of suppliers confidential and attorneys to start attacking the death penalty based on the drugs being ineffective or insufficiently pain-free.

Oklahoma has two “supreme” courts. The Supreme Court of Oklahoma, which hears civil cases, and the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals.

The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals green lighted the executions. The attorneys for the condemned men filed a civil appeal with the Oklahoma Supreme Court objecting to the drugs. The Supreme Court granted an indefinite appeal.

rodguy911 on April 26, 2014 at 8:29 PM

I don’t think it’s that clear cut. The Supreme Court ruled because the inmates filed a civil suit and the Court of Criminal Appeals said it couldn’t weigh in on the stay request because it didn’t have the power (since it was a civil case), so the high court said a “rule of necessity” led to its 5-4 decision.

kcewa on April 26, 2014 at 7:15 PM
………………….
It was pretty clear and clean cut to the little girl that was brutally shot with a shotgun and then buried alive. She gets no say in the matter. Of course we wouldn’t want to violate anyone’s rights.

rodguy911 on April 26, 2014 at 8:34 PM

I think judges who release murderers who kill again should be charged as an accessory.

The reason political hacks such as freak Kagan and Sotomayor and Benedict Roberts and Judge Ross (Prop 8) of California and various other political operatives in robes disdain the Constitution and the People is their having become accustom to working the system, playing the system and other judges playing interference.

The Founders would puke at knowing the Kelo Decision was shoveled through as was the Roe decision making homicide a “privacy” matter mere decades after the Allies stopped Himmler’s killing machine… and to see smirking Benedict Roberts pull his con-job out of his posterior would also have had them mobilizing like the patriots in Nevada.

viking01 on April 26, 2014 at 8:40 PM

I don’t think it’s that clear cut. The Supreme Court ruled because the inmates filed a civil suit and the Court of Criminal Appeals said it couldn’t weigh in on the stay request because it didn’t have the power (since it was a civil case), so the high court said a “rule of necessity” led to its 5-4 decision.

kcewa on April 26, 2014 at 7:15 PM

The civil case was frivolous and should have been dismissed. The Oklahoma Supreme Court should never have considered it.

mbs on April 26, 2014 at 8:44 PM

A separation of powers violation typically occurs when one branch usurps another’s functions, not when one branch attempts to punish the exercise of those functions. I.e., had the legislature itself attempted to stay the execution (or to order it in spite of a judicial stay), that would violate the separation of powers. Impeaching judges is, however, a legislative prerogative, however one may dislike impeachment in particular cases.
Even if this is a political vendetta by the legislature , it does not appear to be an illegal or unconstitutional one.

Seth Halpern on April 26, 2014 at 8:46 PM

I have an idea, if these drugs are going to cause them “discomfort”, and the firing squad is too upsetting for poor metrosexuals to handle. We have all this horse and blow (heroin and cocaine) we need to dispose of… Just lock them in a room full of it and check back in a week. No food, no water, just letting them get high as a kite until they OD and die.

Hmmm… Heroin is a depressant and cocaine a stimulant, though… Maybe just let them pick. Throw a sack of weed in there while you’re at it.

Maybe we’d get a few of those lifers costing us a hundred grand each per year to volunteer to go out that way.

Asurea on April 26, 2014 at 8:52 PM

Hey, this is more ripple effects of the recall effort started by Dems as far as I can see.

Ukiah on April 26, 2014 at 9:16 PM

There are some crimes that demand the death penalty.

TexasDude on April 26, 2014 at 9:17 PM

I’ll want to hear from some lawyers on this one, but it seems rather contrary to the entire concept of the separation of the powers of the three branches. What do you think?

So, uh, separation of powers means one branch can do whatever it wants because members of that branch are there for life?

SouthernGent on April 26, 2014 at 9:22 PM

. If the courts render judgements we don’t like, providing they provide some sort of explanation in their written decisions, should we start giving them the boot?

What if their legal explanation is just stupid?

Like arguing a Constitutional requirement to oppose racism by enshrining race-based prefernce4s for some races forever… is that a judge worth keeping, or only if they happen to be a “wise Latina” as well?

it seems rather contrary to the entire concept of the separation of the powers of the three branches.

The Legislature creates the law, the executive branch executes the law; and even if they both agree the Judicial branch can overrule them forever with impunity because they’re separate and wildly unequal.

Oh, you wanted separate but equal? You didn’t remember that part, did you?

You can impeach a Governor, you can prosecute a Legislator… but you can never remove a judge?

Yeah… try for “equal” in the “separate but equal” branches of government.

When 2 branches get together, they SHOULD have more pull than the 3rd branch, shouldn’t they?

gekkobear on April 26, 2014 at 9:44 PM

It’s a good start ;)

Who is John Galt on April 26, 2014 at 9:46 PM

Impeach all those incompetent, neglectful justices!

bluegill on April 26, 2014 at 5:45 PM

I say hangin’ is too good for em…..

redguy on April 26, 2014 at 9:46 PM

Even if it is Oklahoma, which is mostly Sane.

Who is John Galt on April 26, 2014 at 9:46 PM

“… The two men, condemned to death, were challenging their executions based on the drug combination used to execute them….they were concerned that the drugs used during the lethal injection process would cause them discomfort.”

“The 11 month old victim was sexually molested and her injuries included a six-inch skull fracture, a broken jaw, three broken ribs, bruised lungs and a lacerated liver and spleen.


Warner, is also is charged in Oklahoma County in a separate case with abusing and raping a 5-year-old girl. He is accused of beating the girl with an extension cord and belt.”

Jason58 on April 26, 2014 at 10:12 PM

Executions are so final, and it’s so important not to wrongly execute someone, that I’d much rather have too many stays than too few.

WannabeAnglican on April 26, 2014 at 8:16 PM

I don’t see that the defendants were claiming actual innocence in this appeal, just that the drugs that are going to be used to lethally inject them are not a proper way to kill them.

J.S.K. on April 26, 2014 at 10:12 PM

First we bring back public hanging for folks like the two that started all this, make sure the judges have front row seats, and fill the rest of the seats with scumbag pedophiles. Oh, don’t forget the mandatory prime time television coverage. THEN impeach any judge who wants to legislate from the bench, strip them of all ability to practice or teach law. Tar and feather as needed.

flatlander on April 26, 2014 at 11:03 PM

The 5 judges tried to do what they were not allowed to do according tot he OK constitution.
ie: activist.

My question is : why did the other 4 even agree to let this case move forward……..

exsanguine on April 26, 2014 at 11:49 PM

If the courts render judgements we don’t like, providing they provide some sort of explanation in their written decisions, should we start giving them the boot?

What, courts follow laws or rules when the President just does WTF he wants? Yea, that’s going to happen.

Anarchy is the word you are looking for. This happens when all rational thought is replaced with political agendas and race-baiting. Badly is this the one way this can all end.

HopeHeFails on April 26, 2014 at 11:59 PM

Obama has already blown open the question of the roles by the three seperate branches of government

neyney on April 27, 2014 at 12:30 AM

Obama already opened the door separating the 3 branches of government with his selective enforcement of laws and Obamacare delays. Sadly now all bets are off due to this so I say whatever the states want to do to curb activist judges I’m ok with it.

neyney on April 27, 2014 at 12:32 AM

I’m lucky enough to live in a state where we elect our judges.

Almost like we could see it coming.

WryTrvllr on April 27, 2014 at 12:39 AM

Question for a question: 1. What does the Oklahoma Constitution Require? 2. Where are the Oklahoma Constitutionalists on this? 3. Ditto for the anti- and unConstitutional actions of the b’0 & krew during these past years of travail with them in positions of political and media-ted Power over We The People, amid Guaranteed Representation of Legitimate Citizens of this wonderful G-d_blessed country? Who has the backbone and the expertise to lead out of the quagmire forced upon us?

KissMyAmericanFlag on April 27, 2014 at 12:54 AM

Judgments that skirt law to offend conventional mores and norms impose a burden on society that society need not bear. What is more, impeachment can’t overturn judgments but only prevent judges who render burdensome judgments from doing so again. Judges serve the law and no judge has a vested interest in his own personal spot on the bench. Therefore, I don’t see a problem with this impeachment with respect to separation of powers or otherwise.

Lavaux on April 27, 2014 at 3:55 AM

If they followed the constitution of the state, they should not be impeached. If on the other hand, they found penumbras and other things that are not in the constitution to do this, then they should be impeached.

astonerii on April 26, 2014 at 6:14 PM

Yes, which opens up a can of worms for the governor:

A day after the Oklahoma supreme court originally issued a stay of execution for the two convicted killers, the governor issued her own order on Tuesday that the state would carry out the sentences next week, but legal experts said she had no power to do so.

Governor Fallin may argue that she believed it was within her Constitutional authority to issue such an order, which would raise questions of her understanding of the state’s Constitution–a problem for the state’s Executive. Or she might claim that these circumstances are extraordinary enough to justify acting outside her authority, but to allow such a thing would be a dangerous precedent. The desire to send these two to face Judgement posthaste is understandable, but dispassionate responses are needed to avoid a Constitutional crisis (which, it seems, may be upon them).

DrMagnolias on April 27, 2014 at 4:51 AM

The court, as courts tend to do lately, was engaging in an exercise of raw power without regard to their actual duties. That removes any question regarding the exercise of raw power to remove them.

Good riddance to bad trash.

fadetogray on April 27, 2014 at 5:02 AM

I think it is high time we showed some teeth to judges and started impeachments. Eliinating 1% or so would send a message to the activists, the retards, and the obstructionist that the will of the p0eople does indeed matter.

We have pedophiles in mandatory minimum walking away with 5 (or no) days in jail, a wealthy kid getting off because of ‘ignorance’ (try that one with an IRS judge!), outrageous lawsuits getting through (pain during childbirth? For real?), and States known for being good places to sue businesses from. It is time to slap down those judges and make em reconsider their ways.

OregonPolitician on April 27, 2014 at 7:06 AM

There may be a sympathetic ear in many quarters (including yours truly) to say that setting aside the judgement of the lower court warrants kicking them out. But is that truly a valid reason for impeachment?

Yes.

Stoic Patriot on April 27, 2014 at 7:09 AM

A stay of execution because the condemned are fearful of pain, that the drugs may cause? BS, Hang em high! Let them swing and think of the their victims, as they swing to hell. One shotgunned a young girl and buried her alive, and the other raped, tortured and murdered a young child.
These judges should be removed from the bench.

woodhull on April 27, 2014 at 7:24 AM

Justice, when properly applied, is supposed to be cruel to the unjust. Hang the guilty, impeach the judges.

Roy Rogers on April 27, 2014 at 7:54 AM

This would be unusual, but not necessarily cruel: Put both condemned men in a room and tell them the guy who can walk out gets to live another week.

BigAlSouth on April 27, 2014 at 8:15 AM

Depends is our goal really to win and achieve our stated goals or like our Rhino cousins just playing the game saying what needs saying but holding no such ambition to truly win or achieve such stated goals?

If we truly wish to win and accomplish our goals?

YES YES YES one name president Andrew Jackson. The first US populist pres to rip the reins away from the elites while pushing it back down to the people.

C-Low on April 27, 2014 at 8:59 AM

My home State…..at least if we see something wrong, we try to do something about it. Right or wrong, the next time, these idiots in black robes will maybe think about their actions a little harder…especially as it pertains to the victims.

msupertas on April 27, 2014 at 9:08 AM

Hang ‘em high

J_Crater on April 27, 2014 at 9:36 AM

One method that doesn’t require any supporting material (like drugs, or even a rope) would be “death by base jump without chute”.
Just push them off of a cliff.

J_Crater on April 27, 2014 at 9:38 AM

I was a trial judge for over 18 years and I was regularly dismayed by judges, especially at the appellate level, who substituted their policy beliefs for applying the law as enacted by a legislature. But, impeachment would be a dangerous precedent. Elections have consequences. Whether judges are elected or appointed by elected officials, voters have to get involved if they to stop activism in the courts.

chileristras on April 27, 2014 at 9:54 AM

There are three Communists on SCOTUS by the way.

lilium479 on April 27, 2014 at 10:18 AM

Well, the whole discussion is moot. Most of the damage to this country from black robes comes from the Federal. As it is structured you can’t remove a federal judge from the bench.

Dr. Dog on April 27, 2014 at 10:20 AM

Elections have consequences. Whether judges are elected or appointed by elected officials, voters have to get involved if they to stop activism in the courts.

There are way too many voters who are not concerned with “consequences”, but which vote will get them the most stuff. When it all goes to hell in a hand basket…no jobs…criminals getting a free ride, they just shake their heads at how much government sucks, not even equating their vote with what’s going on around them. I always hope idiots like that are directly impacted in a negative way by their vote, whether they realize it or not.

msupertas on April 27, 2014 at 10:28 AM

Judges are not untouchables. The people should not need to jump through constitutional hoops to dismiss judges. When judges’ terms are for life, impeachment is the only means to get rid of them. The judiciary was never meant to be the ‘final word’ on all things legal in this country. They have increasingly become an un-elected, unaccountable center of power. One judge in CA overturned the votes of tens of millions of Californians. It is long past time to resurrect the doctrine of three co-equal branches of government.

PD Quig on April 27, 2014 at 11:01 AM

Two points…
1. Impeachment is a political act, not a legal one
2. All Judges always provide a basis for their decision. Look at Roe. The question is more basic…is that legal rational valid or is it cobbled together after the decision is made to justify what would be nonsense.

Remember, Roe legalized under the Constitution a practice that was illegal in every state when that Constitution was ratified. Clearly the founders did not intend the result the Judges created.

The decision was crap law.

JIMV on April 27, 2014 at 11:53 AM

I was a trial judge for over 18 years and I was regularly dismayed by judges, especially at the appellate level, who substituted their policy beliefs for applying the law as enacted by a legislature. But, impeachment would be a dangerous precedent. Elections have consequences. Whether judges are elected or appointed by elected officials, voters have to get involved if they to stop activism in the courts.

chileristras on April 27, 2014 at 9:54 AM

Yes, Oklahoma has a retention system for S.Ct. judges – they are appointed, but every 6 years they are on the ballot – voters can vote to remove or retain. I think most people automatically vote to retain, without knowing much about the judges. People should learn more about what they are voting for.

mbs on April 27, 2014 at 12:23 PM

OK Rocks!

Another Drew on April 27, 2014 at 1:33 PM

… we have divided government with a lot of antipathy between the sides in many other states (not to mention in Washington) as well. If the courts render judgements we don’t like, providing they provide some sort of explanation in their written decisions, should we start giving them the boot?

ABSOLUTELY!!! Nothing could be more American than frequent active conflicts among the branches of government!!! Our founders wisely and deliberately set up our government so this would happen: the conflicts are one of the mainstays of the built-in safeguards which preserve this country and our Constitution.

IMHO, impeachments should occur MUCH MORE FREQUENTLY…at all levels of government! Impeachment is the mechanism by which we can openly and publicly debate the meaning of our laws and enforce the Constitution (both state and federal): we should WELCOME it’s frequent use as a mechanism to engage the electorate and dissuade those who would pervert our laws.

landlines on April 27, 2014 at 2:33 PM

PS: Impeachment is as valuable when it fails as when it succeeds. The value is in the public presentation of the articles and the subsequent public debate.

landlines on April 27, 2014 at 2:39 PM

‘Valid reasons for impeachment’ of State Court Judges by State Legislatures is not a Federal issue and there is no single “rule” … it’s a state to state matter. Moreover there is no Constitutional requirement that a State (or Commonwealth) have separation of powers, nor that it have a legislature for that matter, nor that it have a Supreme Court at all.

Afterseven on April 27, 2014 at 4:43 PM

Give the convicted their choice of five possible execution methods–hanging, gas chamber, electric chair, firing squad, or lethal injection–then automatically deny any appeals based on said method.

DrMagnolias on April 27, 2014 at 5:27 PM

Much as I’d like to see these scumbags hang (er… the murderers, not the judges :P ), I’d be very wary about messing with the independence of the judiciary. What happens if the legislature succeeds this time, and that power is then abused further down the road?

Teleros on April 27, 2014 at 6:58 PM

The question here which will probably absorb observers for some time to come is whether rendering a judgement which the legislative and executive branches at the state level disagree with will be found as valid grounds to impeach them

.

You’ve completely missed the point.

The grounds on which they want to impeach the judges is the content of their judgement which lifted the stay. It clearly does not comport with the relevant statute.

In other words, they ignored the law as written and substituted their own convoluted reasoning under the guise of precedent.

That’s not being faithful to law or duty as a court officer. It is political subterfuge substituted for law. It demands a response.

Frankly, this is a welcome change. For far too long the courts have stepped outside their role and into the legislative process. They have destroyed and expanded the courts power as a means of accomplishing political objectives.

Now they do that at their peril and it’s about damn time.

These people weren’t elected monarchs or even legislators. Justice is suppose to be blind and balanced. It is no longer either.

Marcus Traianus on April 27, 2014 at 7:59 PM

I hope I didn’t miss an earlier post addressing this possible reason, but would issuing a stay without pretty strong legal justification be considered dereliction of duty by the justices? Is dereliction of duty (or whatever way the legislature wanted to phrase it) grounds for impeachment? The justices should have thoroughly examined the request based on Oklahoma law (even the U.S. Constitution if necessary), determined whether it contained a legal justification for the stay, and if not, declined it. What reason did the 5 justices give for issuing the stay if they later decided to lift it?

opaobie on April 27, 2014 at 11:06 PM

I’ve asked this question before without much of an answer, so let me ask it again. What gives a federal judge the right to proclaim unconstitutional, a constitutional change voted by the people? Isn’t the fact that the people want the change and passed by constitutional means ie election by the people, constitutional? So what gives the judge the right to over turn a vote of the people?

jainphx on April 26, 2014 at 4:42 PM

Can you point to a case where this has happened?

BobMbx on April 26, 2014 at 4:45 PM

The Florida Supreme Court threw out a Constitutional Amendment passed by referendum once.

The Florida state constitution prohibits ‘cruel and unusual punishment,’ much like the US Constitution. The amendment was to specify that the death penalty did not violate the Florida Constitution, because the death penalty did not meet the definition of ‘cruel and unusual punishment.’

You would think that much was obvious already, but some anti-death penalty groups had managed to challenge the death penalty in some states by arguing that it was cruel and unusual punishment.

The Florida Supreme Court overturned the new amendment by ruling that the people who voted for it didn’t really understand what they were voting for.

So yes, it has happened before.

There Goes the Neighborhood on April 28, 2014 at 1:32 AM

Grinch:

Impeachment … in my non-legal opinion … should be limited to reasons along the lines of “high crimes and misdemeanors” rather than a ruling which you disagree.

Perverting the clear intention of statute law because you have philosophical (rather than legal) issues with the statute is an abuse of power. That qualifies as a high misdemeanor to me.

It is well past time for justices — especially those on appeals and supreme court levels to realize their duty IS to enforce the law and if they are derelict in that duty they face sanctions up to and including removal from office.

No Truce With Kings on April 28, 2014 at 7:48 AM

I may be using the left’s tactics but anything that puts the frighteners on these imperious gavel-bashers is a good thing.

jangle12 on April 28, 2014 at 8:14 AM

Sounds like they have two murderers in OK that have opted for the less cruel and more usual Home Depot $10 special Death Penalty method. (I’m assuming you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on lumber for a scaffold, as I’m sure there are still some trees in OK tall enough to toss a rope over a branch.)

And, yes, these folks should be impeached. Their ruling went over the line, and they thought they could get away with it because they are soooo much more compassionate and caring than all those neanderthal conservatives. I hope they are impeached, and I hope they understand that the political process (as astonerii pointed out) prevents them from meeting a more … “western” fate for their perfidy. Oddly enough, that was often a Home Depot $10 special, too.

GWB on April 28, 2014 at 10:16 AM

What reason did the 5 justices give for issuing the stay if they later decided to lift it?

opaobie on April 27, 2014 at 11:06 PM

They decided to lift the stay when the impeachment legislation began to circulate. Oh, and the Governor said “to heck with that stay, execute them anyway” because it had no legal ground to stand on.

GWB on April 28, 2014 at 10:19 AM

I’m in favor of anything that will reign in this nation’s out of control judiciary

Bring on the impeachments and recalls!

Rick Perrys Parakeet on April 28, 2014 at 12:55 PM

The Judiciary is the least democratically selected branch of government, there is nothing wrong with reminding them that they need to be somewhat responsive to the will of the people.

Putting pressure on the judges to rubberstamp a wrongful conviction is one thing, and of course judges should be immune to that sort of pressure. But these judges are responding to an elite consensus that is trying to end the death penalty despite widespread popular support. The fact that these judges are responding to the concerns of the elites rather than the people is the exact reason they need to be reminded where the legitimate source of their assumed power resides.

Kazinski on April 28, 2014 at 2:59 PM

Comment pages: 1 2