COMMENTARY | Sometimes there are actions taken and decisions made at the federal level in American government that cause citizens to question whether the check and balance function of the three-branch system works. Recent activity in the state government of Oklahoma demonstrates that, in fact, it is vital to have the separation of the judiciary, legislative and executive branches.
On Monday, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled that the proposed personhood measure slated to go on the November ballot is unconstitutional, reported NewsOK.com. Personhood Initiative No. 395, seeking a state constitutional amendment declaring that a newly fertilized egg be recognized as a person, was spearheaded by the Personhood Oklahoma group.
The nine justices rendered a unanimous decision in saying that the proposal was unconstitutional, citing the 1992 ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court that women have a constitutional right to have an abortion.
Some of the original backers of the legislative form of a personhood bill had pointed out that nothing in the bill prohibited abortion -- and they were accurate, technically. But the wording and intent of the proposed bill was clear that the fetus was protected from intentional harm or death any time after the moment of conception.
Last Thursday, in a move that surprised many, the proposed personhood legislation floundered in the House of Representatives without ever coming to a vote of the entire body, reported Reuters. Exactly why this occurred is unclear, but it doesn't mean the sentiment of the issue is moot.
Future legislation could be drafted to bring personhood in the state again to the forefront. Dan Skerbitz, director of Personhood Oklahoma told NewsOk.com, "We'll have to restrategize our on-the-ground efforts here in Oklahoma. There are ways around the Supreme Court."
That's an interesting thought, Mr. Skerbitz, but I believe the check and balance virtues of the three-branch system are alive and functioning well in Oklahoma.
Smack dab in the middle of the baby boomer generation, L.L. Woodard is a proud resident of "The Red Man" state. With what he hopes is an everyman's view of life's concerns both in his state and throughout the nation, Woodard presents facts and opinions based on common-sense solutions.
- Politics & Government
- state government of Oklahoma
- Oklahoma Supreme Court