New Oklahoma Supreme Court Chief Justice Steven W. Taylor stayed true to his no-nonsense reputation during a forthright swearing-in ceremony Monday.
“It is not a job — it is a mission,” Taylor, 61, said after taking the oath of office Monday as chief justice.
Taylor's remarks were brief and blunt at Monday's ceremony, which he deliberately spared of any pomposity or fanfare.
“We've got work to do now, so court's adjourned,” Taylor said soon after he took his oath.
Taylor, who for the past two years has been the court's vice chief justice, succeeds Justice James Edmondson as chief justice.
As the presiding officer of the state's highest court, the chief justice is the key administrator of the court's many functions.
Taylor will serve a two-year term in the post.
His first act Monday as chief justice was to administer the oath of office to new Vice Chief Justice Tom Colbert, who like Taylor was appointed to the Supreme Court by Gov. Brad Henry in 2004.
Before his appointment to the Supreme Court, Taylor spent more than 20 years as a trial judge in various state courts.
He conducted more than 500 trials and gained prominence while overseeing the trial of convicted Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols.
Many in the legal community at the time said no other judge in Oklahoma could have handled the case as well as Taylor.