Voters retain Oklahoma's Supreme Court justices, appeals judges

All four Oklahoma Supreme Court justices on Tuesday's judicial retention ballot will keep their jobs for six more years despite criticism of some decisions.
by Nolan Clay Modified: November 6, 2012 at 11:28 pm •  Published: November 6, 2012
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All four Oklahoma Supreme Court justices on Tuesday's judicial retention ballot will keep their jobs for six more years despite criticism of some decisions.

Voters retained Justices Noma D. Gurich, Yvonne Kauger, James E. Edmondson and Douglas L. Combs.

Attorneys and others supporting the justices raised more than $400,000 over the last three weeks to pay for political ads to counter the criticism, records show.

Voters Tuesday also retained five judges on the Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals — P. Thomas Thornbrugh, William C. Hetherington Jr., Kenneth L. Buettner, Robert “Bobby” Bell and E. Bay Mitchell III.

Voters retained three judges on the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals — Clancy Smith, Arlene Johnson and David B. Lewis.

They had no opponents. Voters were deciding whether they stay, and with almost all the ballots counted, each had more than 65 percent of the vote.

Historically, voters never have removed a justice or appeals judge up for retention.

In September, a group backed by The State Chamber released an evaluation of justices and their votes on decisions that “had the effect of restraining the spread of liability.” The justices on the retention ballot had scores of 32 or below.


by Nolan Clay
Sr. Reporter
Nolan Clay was born in Oklahoma and has worked as a reporter for The Oklahoman since 1985. He covered the Oklahoma City bombing trials and witnessed bomber Tim McVeigh's execution. His investigative reports have brought down public officials,...
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