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New Bill Would Make OK Law Immune to the Supreme Court

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Every now and then, I have to take a break from talking about the great restaurants and fun events of Oklahoma City and talk about some of the interesting, crazy, or just plain weird things our legislature is doing.  I recently learned about a new bill introduced in the Oklahoma state Senate that fits all three categories.

State Senator Ralph Shortey of Oklahoma City recently introduced Senate Joint Resolution 84, a bill that would amend Oklahoma’s state constitution.  This amendment would prevent the United States Supreme Court from reviewing the constitutionality of any Oklahoma law.  Basically, it would remove any federal oversight of Oklahoma laws.

Now that doesn’t mean our state legislature would be operating with zero checks and balances.  The resolution would also create what it calls an Ad Hoc Court of Constitutional Review, a state-run court that would review Oklahoma laws to ensure they are in line with the constitution.

The Supreme Court has had the right to review laws since 1803, and that right was expanded to include state laws in 1816.  If this resolution passes, Oklahoma would become the only state in the US to not recognize the Supreme Court and its decisions.

If this bill passes the state senate and house, it won’t immediately become law.  Since it amends our state constitution, it would have to be voted on by the public.  If it passes, a state question will be on the ballot in November so that all Oklahomans can vote on this issue.

I’ve seen some people argue that this bill is aimed at the Oklahoma Supreme Court system, but the wording doesn’t say that.  Many news sites and blogs say this resolution would make Oklahoma laws immune to U.S. Supreme Court oversight.  I’d love to know if there’s something many people have been mis-reading.

If you think Rep. Shortey’s bill is a bit over the top (especially if it refers to the U.S. Supreme Court), let me tell you about another bill he introduced on Jan. 18th.  This bill would prohibit the manufacture or sale of food or anything else intended for human consumption that contains, as an ingredient, aborted human fetuses!  It also prohibits the sale of food that used aborted fetuses in research or development of any ingredient.  Now, I agree with that—I don’t want to eat anything containing human fetuses!  This thing that makes this a somewhat crazy bill is that there is no evidence of any company using aborted fetuses in their food or in any research.

Shortey himself actually said he doesn’t know if this research is happening.  In fact, the only known rumors concerning human fetuses being used in research involves the company Semonyx.  Supposedly, they have used some proteins from human embryonic kidney cells in testing artificial sweeteners.

Is Shortey introducing bills that will help Oklahoma in the long run, or is he just taking up time that could be better spent working on fixing our economy?  What do you think of his two bills?

Some other blogs that talk about these bills:

The Huffington Post Blog has more information on the human fetus bill.

The FindLaw blog discusses the Supreme Court Opt-Out law.

Here’s another excellent blog on the fetuses-in-food bill from the LA Times.

Finally, the Right Sphere has a blog on the Supreme Court law.

Tags: Only in OKC       

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