Judicial department

Section VII-1: Courts in which judicial power vested.

  The judicial power of this State shall be vested in the Senate,
sitting as a Court of Impeachment, a Supreme Court, the Court of
Criminal Appeals, the Court on the Judiciary, the State Industrial
Court, the Court of Bank Review, the Court of Tax Review, and such
intermediate appellate courts as may be provided by statute District
Courts, and such Boards, Agencies and Commissions created by the
Constitution or established by statute as exercise adjudicative
authority or render decisions in individual proceedings.  Provided
that the Court of Criminal Appeals, the State Industrial Court, the
Court of Bank Review and the Court of Tax Review and such Boards, Agencies and Commissions as have been established by statute shall continue in effect, subject to the power of the Legislature to change or abolish said Courts, Boards, Agencies, or Commissions. Municipal Courts in cities or incorporated towns shall continue in effect and shall be subject to creation, abolition or alteration by the Legislature by general laws, but shall be limited in jurisdiction to criminal and traffic proceedings arising out of infractions of the provisions of ordinances of cities and towns or of duly adopted regulations authorized by such ordinances.

Section VII-2: Supreme Court Justices - Number - Terms - Vacancies - Qualifications - Chief Justice - Vice Chief Justice.

  The Supreme Court shall consist of nine Justices until the
number shall be changed by statute and each Justice shall be from
a separate district of the State.  Each district shall remain as
presently constituted until otherwise provided by Statute.  The
terms of office of the Justices of the Supreme Court shall be six
years and shall commence on the second Monday of January
following their election.  Those appointed or elected to fill
vacancies shall assume office immediately upon qualifying for the
office.  Each Justice, at the time of his election or
appointment, shall have attained the age of thirty years, shall
have been a qualified elector in the district for at least one
year immediately prior to the date of filing or appointment, and
shall have been a licensed practicing attorney or judge of a
court of record, or both, in Oklahoma for five years preceding
his election or appointment and shall continue to be a duly
licensed attorney while in office to be eligible to hold the
office.  The Justices shall choose from among their members a
Chief Justice and a Vice Chief Justice.  

Section VII-3: Election of Justices and Judges - Vacancies.

  From each of the Supreme Court districts and Court of Criminal
Appeals districts, the voters thereof shall elect a Justice of
the Supreme Court and a Judge of the Court of Criminal Appeals at
a non-partisan election, in a manner provided by statute.  In the
event intermediate appellate courts are created, the judges
thereof shall be elected at a non-partisan election, in a manner
provided by statute.  In the event of a vacancy the Governor
shall, by appointment from said district, fill such vacancy until
the next election for State Officers, and at such election the
vacancy for the unexpired term shall be filled by a non-partisan
election in a manner provided by statute.  

Section VII-4: Jurisdiction of Supreme Court - Writs.

  The appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court shall be
co-extensive with the State and shall extend to all cases at law
and in equity; except that the Court of Criminal Appeals shall
have exclusive appellate jurisdiction in criminal cases until
otherwise provided by statute and in the event there is any
conflict as to jurisdiction, the Supreme Court shall determine
which court has jurisdiction and such determination shall be
final.  The original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court shall
extend to a general superintendent control over all inferior
courts and all Agencies, Commissions and Boards created by law.
The Supreme Court, Court of Criminal Appeals, in criminal matters
and all other appellate courts shall have power to issue, hear
and determine writs of habeas corpus, mandamus, quo warranto,
certiorari, prohibition and such other remedial writs as may be
provided by law and may exercise such other and further
jurisdiction as may be conferred by statute.  Each of the
Justices or Judges shall have power to issue writs of habeas
corpus to any part of the State upon petition by or on behalf of
any person held in actual custody and make such writs returnable
before himself, or before the Supreme Court, other Appellate
Courts, or before any District Court, or judge thereof in the
State.  The appellate and the original jurisdiction of the
Supreme Court and all other appellate courts shall be invoked in
the manner provided by law.  

Section VII-5: Sessions - Quorum - Intermediate appellate courts - Form of decisions - Clerk of Supreme Court.

  The sessions of the Supreme Court shall be held at the seat of
government, and the sessions and duration thereof shall be fixed
by rule of said Court.  A majority of the members of the Supreme
Court shall constitute a quorum and the concurrence of the
majority of said Court shall be necessary to decide any question.
The jurisdiction, powers, duties and procedures of intermediate
appellate courts shall be as provided by rules of the Supreme
Court until otherwise provided by statute.  In the event of the
creation of intermediate appellate courts, all appeals shall be
made to the Supreme Court, which may, by rule, determine the
method of assignment to, and recall from, the intermediate
appellate courts until otherwise provided by statute.  When the
intermediate appellate courts acquire jurisdiction in any cause
and make final disposition of same, such disposition shall be
final and there shall be no further right of appeal except for
issuance of a writ of certiorari ordered by a majority of the
Supreme Court which may affirm, modify or make such other changes in said decision as it deems proper.  The Supreme Court and intermediate appellate court decisions shall be in such form as
the Supreme Court shall specify by rule and the Court of Criminal
Appeals decisions shall be in such form as it shall specify by
rule, until otherwise provided by statute.  The Supreme Court
shall appoint a Clerk of the Supreme Court, who shall serve at
the pleasure of the Supreme Court and who shall perform the
duties prescribed by law and rules of the Supreme Court.  The
Clerk of the Supreme Court in office on the effective date of
this Article shall continue in office for the duration of his
elective term.  

Section VII-6: Administrative authority - Director and staff.

  Except with reference to the Senate sitting as a Court of
Impeachment and the Court on the Judiciary, general
administrative authority over all courts in this State, including
the temporary assignment of any judge to a court other than that
for which he was selected, is hereby vested in the Supreme Court
and shall be exercised by the Chief Justice in accordance with
its rules.  The Supreme Court shall appoint an administrative
director and staff, who shall serve at its pleasure to assist the
Chief Justice in his administrative duties and to assist the
Court on the Judiciary.

Section VII-7: District Courts - Jurisdiction - Courts abolished - Transfer of jurisdiction, files etc.

  (a)  The State shall be divided by the Legislature into
judicial districts, each consisting of an entire county or of
contiguous counties.  There shall be one District Court for each
judicial district, which shall have such number of District Judges, Associate District Judges and Special Judges as may be prescribed by statute.  The District Court shall have unlimited original jurisdiction of all justifiable matters, except as otherwise provided in this Article, and such powers of review of administrative action as may be provided by statute. Existing electing districts for all who are or who become District Judges and Associate District Judges under the terms of this Article shall remain as they are constituted for the offices formerly held by such persons on the effective date of this Article, until changed by statute.  The Legislature may at any time delegate authority to the Supreme Court to designate by court rule the division of the State into districts and the number of judges.
  (b)  All Courts in the State of Oklahoma, except those
specifically provided for in this Article, are hereby abolished
at midnight on the day preceding the effective date of this Article and their jurisdiction, functions, powers and duties are transferred to the respective District Courts, and, until otherwise provided by statute, all non-judicial functions vested in such courts are transferred to the District Courts and Judges thereof. No person shall file a declaration of candidacy for any such court abolished herein on or after July 1, 1968.
  (c)  Each court into which jurisdiction of other courts is transferred shall succeed to and assume jurisdiction of all causes, matters and proceedings then pending, with full power and authority to dispose of them and to carry into execution or otherwise to give effect to all orders, judgments and decrees theretofore entered by the predecessor courts.
  (d)  The files, books, papers, records, documents, monies,
securities and other property in the possession, custody, or
control of the court hereby abolished, or in the possession,
custody or control of any officer thereof, are transferred to the
District Court; and thereafter all proceedings in all court shall
be matters of record.
  (e)  In the event a transfer or transition has not been provided for by law, the Supreme Court shall by rule provide for the orderly transfer or transition.  

Section VII-8: Classes of District Court Judges - Selection - Terms - Jurisdiction - Qualifications.

    (a)  The Judges of the District Court shall be District Judges,
Associate District Judges, and Special Judges. Each District Judge,
each Associate District Judge, and each Special Judge shall be
selected according to the provisions of this Article.
    (b)  Superior Court Judges shall become District Court Judges on
the effective date of this Article.
    (c)  Common Pleas, County, Children and Juvenile Court Judges
shall become Associate District Judges in the following manner: Those Judges whose terms expire after the effective date of this Article shall become Associate District Judges on the effective date of this Article.  Those Judges whose terms expire on or before the effective date of this Article, shall be subject to selection, in a manner provided by law, as Associate District Judges for a term expiring the day preceding the second Monday in January, 1971, and the selected shall become Associate District Judges on the effective date of this Article.
    (d)  There shall be at least one Associate District Judge for
each County in the State.  The number of District Judges, including
Superior Court Judges who become District Judges, and Associate
District Judges shall continue at the number held over under this
Article until changed by statute.  The District Judges and Associate
District Judges shall exercise all jurisdiction in the District Court
except as otherwise provided by law.  The District Courts, or any
Judges thereof, shall have the power to issue any writs, remedial or
otherwise necessary or proper to carry into effect their orders,
judgments, or decrees.
    (e)  The appointment of any Judge to any Court abolished by this Article made after its adoption shall be for a period ending on the day preceding the effective day of this Article.
    (f)  The terms of District Judges and Associate District Judges
shall be for four years commencing on the second Monday of January in 1971 and vacancies shall be filled in the manner provided by law.
    (g)  Each District Judge shall have had prior to election or
appointment, a minimum of four years' experience as a licensed
practicing attorney, or as a judge of a court of record, or both,
within the State of Oklahoma; shall be a qualified elector of the
respective district; and shall have such additional qualifications as
may be prescribed by statute.  Each Associate District Judge shall be an attorney licensed to practice in the State of Oklahoma and an
elector in the County at the time of filing; and they shall have such
additional qualifications as prescribed by statute.  Both District
Judges and Associate District Judges shall continue to be licensed
attorneys while in office.
    (h)  The District Judges in each judicial administrative district
shall appoint special judges to serve at their pleasure.  The
District Judges may appoint a non lawyer as a special judge if no
qualified licensed attorney is available.  The jurisdiction of
Special Judges shall be limited as may be prescribed by statute.  The formula used for the number of special judges to be allowed to each judicial administrative district shall be set by the Legislature.
All judges of special sessions courts shall become Special Judges for the remainder of their terms.
    (i)  District Judges, Associate District Judges and Special
Judges may hold court anywhere in this State authorized by rule of
the Supreme Court.

Section VII-9: Election of District Judges and Associate District Judges.

 District Judges and Associate District Judges shall be elected
by the voters of the several respective districts or counties at
a non-partisan election in the manner provided by statute.  

Section VII-10: Judicial Administrative Districts.

  (a)  The State shall be divided into Judicial Administrative
Districts, by statute, each consisting of one or more District
Court Judicial Districts.
  (b)  The District Judges and Associate District Judges in each
Judicial Administrative District shall select one of the District
Judges to serve at their pleasure as Presiding Judge of such
Judicial Administrative District.  Subject to the authority of
the Supreme Court, the Presiding Judge shall have general
administrative authority over the Judicial Administrative
District, including authority to provide for divisions, general
or specialized, and for appropriate times and places of holding
court subject to law.  

Section VII-11: Salaries and expenses - Retirement.

  (a)  Judges and Supreme Court Justices shall receive for their
services salaries provided by statute.  The salaries of Judges
and Justices shall not be diminished, but may be increased during
their respective terms of office.  Judicial officers may be paid
such actual and necessary expenses as may be provided by statute.
All basic salaries and expenses, or any portion thereof, of
judges of District Courts shall be paid by the State unless
otherwise provided by Statute with such additional salaries as
may be provided by statute to be paid by the respective districts
or counties.
  (b)  No Justices or Judges, except those of Municipal Courts,
shall engage in the practice of law nor hold any other office or
position of profit under the United States or this State or any
municipal corporation or political subdivision of this State, nor
shall hold office in any political party.  Provided that the Judges of the Court on the Judiciary, the Court of Tax Review and the Court of Bank Review and the Judges of any other such Special Courts may serve in such capacities in addition to their other judicial office. Compensation for service in the National Guard or the armed forces of the United States for such periods of time as may be determined by rules of the Supreme Court shall not be deemed "profit".
  (c)  Notwithstanding the provisions of this Article relating to
terms of office, the Legislature may provide by statute for a
maximum age qualification for election or appointment to office
and for the retirement of Justices and Judges automatically at a
prescribed age or both.  The compensation, age of retirement and
after a certain number of years of service, or procedure for
retirement shall be prescribed by statute.  Any retired Justice
or Judge may, in the discretion of the Supreme Court, be assigned
to Judicial service.  The compensation for such service shall be
that to which the Justice or Judge is entitled in accordance with
benefits as provided by statute.  

Section VII-12: Continuing provisions.

 Except to the extent inconsistent with the provisions of this
Article, all provisions of law and rules of court in force on the
effective date of this Article shall continue in effect until
superseded in a manner authorized by law.  

Section VII-13: Savings clause.

  In the event the abolition of any court or office hereunder is
held by any court of competent jurisdiction to not take effect
upon the effective date of this Article, then such court or office shall be abolished and terminated at the expiration of the term of the officer holding such office with the same provisions applying thereto, as if abolished on the effective date of this Article.

Section VII-14: Effective dates - Implementing acts.

  This Judicial Article shall become effective on January 13,
1969;  except those provisions expressly authorizing or directing
a different date; and except those provisions relating to the
Supreme Court, the Court of Criminal Appeals, intermediate
appellate courts and the Justices and Judges of such Courts,
which shall become effective immediately upon the adoption of
this Judicial Article. On or after the first Tuesday after the first Monday in January, 1968, the Legislature shall enact the necessary and appropriate laws to implement and place in operation the provisions of this Article.

Section VII-15: Jury trials - Verdicts.

 In all jury trials the jury shall return a general verdict, and
no law in force nor any law hereafter enacted, shall require the
court to direct the jury to make findings of particular questions
of fact, but the court may, in its discretion, direct such
special findings.  

Section VII-16: Repealed.

  Article VII of the Constitution of the State of Oklahoma is
hereby repealed.