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ACLU files lawsuit challenging eligibility of Oklahoma’s new Supreme Court Justice

OKLAHOMA CITY - Our state’s newest Supreme Court justice may have to fight to keep his job.

The ACLU is suing Justice Patrick Wyrick on behalf of people in his district in southeast Oklahoma.

They say he doesn’t meet the residency requirements because he doesn’t live there.

He lives in Oklahoma City.

State law requires a potential justice to live in the district for a year prior to his appointment or his filing for the post.

Justice Wyrick’s district is in Southeast Oklahoma, District 2.

It includes 13 counties.

But records show Wyrick has lived in the OKC metro with his family for years.

“Justice Wyrick voted under his address in Cleveland county in March 2016. What that means is it’s impossible for him to then claim ‘I was really a bona fide resident of another place,’” ACLU of Oklahoma Legal Director Brady Henderson said.

The ACLU is suing Justice Wyrick on behalf of two plaintiffs: one republican and one democrat in District 2.

They believe they’ve been stripped of their constitutional right to representation on the court.

“We all need to know that the nine individuals who are sitting on that court, that are making decisions that impact Oklahomans` everyday lives, in very dramatic ways sometimes, that those individuals were properly seated on that court,” ACLU of Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel said.

Wyrick served as solicitor general in the attorney general’s office since 2011.

For the past nine years, records show Wyrick and his family have lived in Moore and south Oklahoma City.

He’s only owned property in Atoka since August.

He got it in a quit claim deed from his parents less than a month after Justice Steven Taylor announced he’d retire at the end of the year.

“His claim to residency required by the constitution is not true or accurate,” Henderson said.

Wyrick has never served on the bench.

This will likely all come down to oral arguments at the Oklahoma Supreme Court, and the other eight justices will decide whether Wyrick can constitutionally keep his seat.

Governor Fallin’s office released the following statement Tuesday:

"Section 3(e) of Article VII-B of the Oklahoma Constitution provides that 'The (Judicial Nominating) Commission shall have jurisdiction to determine whether the qualifications of nominees to hold Judicial Office have been met...' The commission exercised its constitutional authority and the governor accordingly selected Patrick Wyrick to fill the vacant position on the Oklahoma Supreme Court." - Jennifer Chance, Governor Mary Fallin's general counsel