Steele, Bingman make appointments to Judicial Nominating Commission
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Published: 07-Jan-2011

CapitolBeatOK Staff Report

Published: 07-Jan-2011

The new Republican leaders of the state Legislature have named their appointees to the Judicial Nominating Commission.

House Speaker Kris Steele today (Friday, January 7) chose David K. Hill, chief executive officer of Kimray, as his appointee on the Judicial Nominating Commission. Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman also designated his choice for the commission, Dr. Don Murray.

In a statement sent to CapitolBeatOK, Steele, a Shawnee Republican, said, “In November, the citizens of Oklahoma voted to change the membership of the Judicial Nominating Commission to include individuals with broad-based knowledge and experience. David Hill is a proven leader in business, education and government. He clearly has the qualities needed to thoroughly vet nominees for judicial vacancies. I am confident he will serve the state of Oklahoma well and I appreciate his willingness to take on this important duty.”

Hill is an OSU alumnus and has a degree in International Business from the Advanced Training Institute in Chicago, Ill. He has been with Kimray since 1993. He previously served for six years on the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission, starting in 1998.

In 2004, Hill and his wife Shannon founded Providence Hall, a private school providing classical Christian education to the north Oklahoma City metropolitan area. In addition, Hill is a founding board member of the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon. He and his wife have been married 17 years and have six children.

Bingman said Murray “will be a great addition and he will bring practical experience from the private sector to benefit the judicial nomination process.”

Don P. Murray, M.D., resides in Edmond, Ok.  A Ponca City native, Murray is a graduate of Oklahoma State University and the University Of Oklahoma School Of Medicine.  Dr. Murray currently practices in Oklahoma City.

“Going forward, this appointment will help give the people of Oklahoma a voice in the process of selecting judges.  Dr. Murray understands the importance of a good judicial branch and this nomination honors that voice,” said Bingman.

The Judicial Nominating Commission reviews candidates for judicial vacancies and submits a list of nominees to the governor, who makes the final selection.

The appointees will serve two-year terms without compensation.  The legislature does provide funds to reimburse commission members for travel and lodging expenses incurred while performing duties of the nominating commission.

The Judicial Nominating Commission works on judicial nominations of Associate District Judges, District Judges, Workers Compensation Judges, Court of Civil Appeals, Court of Criminal Appeals, and Supreme Court Justices.

The legislative leaders gained the power of appointment due to voter approval of State Question 752 on November 2.

The commission has been the focus of scrutiny in recent weeks, primarily due to a vacancy created by the death of Justice Marian Opala. Governor Brad Henry has said he intends to fulfill the vacancy. After a 6-1 state Supreme Court decision yesterday which denied a stay request designed to slow down the process , Henry’s appointment is widely anticipated to come today. If Henry makes the appointment, it will be his sixth appointment to the court.

NOTE: Editor Patrick B. McGuigan contributed to this report.

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