Oklahoma state Rep. Mike Christian, who unsuccessfully sought the impeachment of five state Supreme Court justices last year, has filed legislation to create a court of last resort to hear only death penalty appeals.
Christian wanted to impeach the justices over their issuing stays of execution for two condemned inmates. Ultimately the justices lifted the stays (see Gavel Grab). His new measure for a constitutional amendment would give the legislature total “discretion in terms of the court’s composition, terms of judges, and how those judges are selected/appointed,” according to a Gavel to Gavel article.
That selection method contrasts with the merit selection method now in place for selecting members of the existing two courts of last resort, the Supreme Court, which handles civil matters, and the Court of Criminal Appeals.
Gavel to Gavel is a publication of the National Center for State Courts, a Justice at Stake partner organization. When Christian sought impeachment of the five justices, JAS deplored “rash threats against sitting judges” (Gavel Grab has background).