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Proposal Would Require Senate to Approve Judges (Mar 08, 2011)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma voters will decide if the state Senate should be tasked with approving judicial appointments under a bill passed by the Senate.

The Senate voted 30-14 on Tuesday for the measure that requires an appointment of the governor to fill a judicial vacancy also be approved by a majority of the Senate.

According to the Oklahoma Constitution, the governor appoints a judge to fill a vacancy from three names forwarded to him by the Judicial Nominating Commission. Sen. Cliff Aldridge, R-Choctaw, wants voters to change that process by adding the Senate as an additional level of oversight.

Several members objected to the proposed change, saying it will politicize the process of selecting judges.

Sen. Richard Lerblance, D-Hartshorne, called the idea "politics at its best."

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