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Sooners to Supreme Court: Stop Minding Oklahoma Business?

By Robyn Hagan Cain | Last updated on

Perhaps Oklahoma is peeved that the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the state's anti-Sharia law, a state constitutional amendment that prevents Oklahoma state courts from considering or using Sharia law in decisions.

Or, maybe the legislature is trying to take its cues from Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich. Either way, Oklahoma does not seem to be a fan of federal appellate courts.

Now, Oklahoma State Senator Ralph Shortey of Oklahoma City is ready to stop the federal courts from second-guessing the will of the people. His solution? A constitutional amendment that would deny the Nine Supreme Court judicial review of Oklahoma laws, according to The Daily O'Collegian.

The bill would substitute Supreme Court authority with a state-based "ad hoc Court of Constitutional Review," reports The Daily O'Collegian. The new review panel would be within Shortey's legislative purview since he serves on the state's Appropriations Subcommittee on Public Safety and Judiciary.

The bill, if passed, would go to a statewide vote as a constitutional amendment.

The Supreme Court gave itself the power of federal judicial review in 1803, and the power of state judicial review in 1816. (Sidebar: In hindsight, does self-granted judicial review seem a touch self-serving?)

The Oklahoma measure continues the trend of state defiance toward the U.S. Supreme Court. Earlier this year, Montana's Supreme Court upheld a state corporate campaign contribution ban in Western Tradition Partnership v. Attorney General, finding that Montana had a compelling interest in continuing to enforce the state's Corrupt Practices Act. The ruling seems to contradict the 2010 SCOTUS holding in Citizens United v. FEC.

What do you think of Senator Ralph Shortey's proposal? Can states opt-out of Supreme Court judicial review, or is this just wishful thinking from a politician trying to make a name for himself?

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