Oklahoma’s governor, Mary Fallin has decided that the 10 Commandments Monument can stay on state capitol grounds.
The Oklahoma State Supreme Court recently ruled that the monument violates the Oklahoma State Constitution. They made this ruling despite the fact that the United States Supreme Court has ruled that a similar monument in Texas does not violate the Constitution of the United States of America.
The reaction from legislators was predictable, with calls to impeach the Supreme Court members who voted against the monument, and development of legislation to let the people of Oklahoma vote on whether or not to remove the verbiage from the Oklahoma Constitution on which the ruling was made. Attorney General Scott Pruitt is asking the Supreme Court to reconsider its ruling, and now Governor Mary Fallin has announced that the monument can stay, pending this appeal.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Resistance to the Oklahoma Supreme Court has been growing in the Oklahoma legislature for quite a while. This legislature, unlike Congress, is not a paper tiger. It can and does legislate. It overturns vetoes and deep-sixes executive proposals on a regular basis. It also goes off and passes laws on its own.
Several bills reforming the nomination process for the judiciary have been considered in the past few years. I would not be surprised is this recent ruling gives them a fresh life.
From the Washington Post:
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R) said that the state’s controversial Ten Commandments statue is staying put despite a state Supreme Court ruling ordering it to be taken off the statehouse grounds.
The state’s highest court handed down a broad 7-2 decision last week, which found that the monument violated the state’s constitution.
In statements issued Tuesday, Fallin defended the statue and said that “the court got it wrong.” She added that the statue will remain in place while the state appeals the court’s decision and the legislature considers changes to the constitution.
“Oklahoma is a state where we respect the rule of law, and we will not ignore the state courts or their decisions,” Fallin said. “However, we are also a state with three co-equal branches of government.”
“At this time, Attorney General Scott Pruitt, with my support, has filed a petition requesting a rehearing of the Ten Commandments case. Additionally, our Legislature has signaled its support for pursuing changes to our state Constitution that will make it clear the Ten Commandments monument is legally permissible,” she added. “If legislative efforts are successful, the people of Oklahoma will get to vote on the issue.”