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Senate leadership calls out Supreme Courts use of special law to strike down lawsuit reform provision

Senate President Pro Tem Greg Treat criticized the Oklahoma Supreme Court’s use of the “special law” provision of the Oklahoma Constitution to strike down the non-economic damages cap of landmark lawsuit reform laws.

“It’s not surprising the Oklahoma Supreme Court struck down a lawsuit reform provision under the auspices of it being a ‘special law.’ The Supreme Court has previously demonstrated its dislike of lawsuit reform, and when the court doesn’t like a law they fall back to their old standby of using ‘special law’ or ‘single-subject rule’ to throw out constitutionally sound bills. If the Supreme Court can’t apply these standards in a consistent basis, then perhaps the Legislature should look at remedies that would bring uniformity to the application of these important provisions of the state constitution,” said Treat, R-Oklahoma City.

The court continues to go outside its constitutional lane of interpreting the law, said Senator Julie Daniels, the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“The courts are intended to be independent arbiters of the constitutionality of legislation, but you cannot fault Oklahomans for questioning that independence when the court haphazardly uses ‘special law’ and ‘single-subject rule’ to strike down laws the court does not like. This is an issue that merits further study by members of the Legislature,” said Daniels, R-Bartlesville.

Contact info
Sen. Treat: (405) 521-5565 Sen. Daniels: (405) 521-5634