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ScissorTales: Oklahoma judges retained again %u2014 no surprise

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board Published: November 10, 2012

Bait and switch?

A political TV ad by “Yes for Fair and Impartial Judges” could be accused of a lie by omission. The ad, which urged retention of all Oklahoma Supreme Court justices, touted the support of former Gov. Brad Henry, a Democrat, and James Dunn, “a Republican nominee for attorney general” for retaining the judges. There's just one problem with the ad. In August, Dunn told The Associated Press he was leaving the Republican Party because he “totally disagrees” with much of the GOP's state and national platforms. He was particularly opposed to GOP support for lawsuit reform, another stance he shares with Henry. So the judicial retention ad would have been more accurate had it touted that one man who is not a Republican agrees with another man who is not a Republican. But we suppose that would not pack the same punch.

Get them confirmed

The re-election of President Barack Obama should be good news for two Oklahoma men who have waited a long time to be confirmed to federal benches. U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert Bacharach of Oklahoma City was nominated by Obama in January to a post on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver. Tulsa attorney John Dowell is in line for a federal judgeship in Tulsa. Both men sailed through confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee, but their nominations got high-centered this summer by political gamesmanship. Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Muskogee, who refused to buck his party when an opportunity arose in July to move Bacharach's nomination forward, says both judges should now “fly through” the Senate. We hope so. The 10th Circuit seat has been vacant more than two years.

Level only for some

Those who support the idea of adding yet another classification for high school football in Oklahoma say they're trying to “level the playing field.” Jenks and Tulsa Union have combined to win the championship in the state's largest class (6A) every year since 1996. A plan offered this week to the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association would split the current Class 6A in half, with the 16 largest schools becoming 7A, and the other 16 remaining as 6A. So to win a state title in either class, a team would have to be better than just 15 other schools. What's next, a move in a few years to 8A to water down the pool even further? Meantime, the OSSAA this week rejected a request to let schools pull individual sports out from under the OSSAA umbrella. Large urban schools such as U.S. Grant and Capitol Hill have no chance in football because their programs struggle to get even 30 boys to play. Allowing them to play other schools facing the same challenges is a worthy pursuit. But it's clear concern about “leveling” the playing field extends only so far.

Has he thought this through?

As Oklahoma officials debate expansion of Medicaid to receive Obamacare subsidies, some local medical officials are urging expansion. John Silva, CEO of Morton Comprehensive Health Services in Tulsa, is among them. About 55 percent of Morton's patients are uninsured. The federal government provides about a quarter of the facility's funding, but Silva notes federal rates haven't increased in 15 years. So his solution to insufficient government funding is to trust that the feds will do better paying an even bigger bill. U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Muskogee, suggests that's a poor strategy and has warned state officials to consider “what will happen when politicians face reality and decide the federal government can no longer afford to pay the rate as promised.” If the federal government fails to fund current obligations, why would one think it will do better once federal costs are dramatically increased?

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board
The Oklahoman Editorial Board consists of Gary Pierson, President and CEO of The Oklahoma Publishing Company; Christopher P. Reen, president and publisher of The Oklahoman; Kelly Dyer Fry, editor and vice president of news; Christy Gaylord...
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