OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The state has a new top lawyer. Governor Kevin Stitt naming John O’Connor as his pick for attorney general on Friday morning. By the afternoon, O’Connor was officially sworn in at the state capitol.
“Today we start a new chapter,” Stitt said. “I’m very excited to announce that I’m appointing the next attorney general as John O’Connor.”
After two months of waiting, Stitt announced his replacement for Mike Hunter as Oklahoma’s Attorney General.
Stitt saying O’Connor is the right man for the job.
“I know John’s heart and I know he’s the right leader at the right time. He’s a strong man of faith. He’s a true conservative. A great attorney and a tireless worker,” Stitt said.
“My duties will include prosecuting the rights of Oklahomans and the state,” O’Connor said.
But the pick comes with some controversy.
“President Trump trusted John and appointed him and nominated him to be a federal judge in 2018,” Stitt said.
After former President Trump’s appointment, the American Bar Association unanimously voted O’Connor as not qualified for the position.
The association providing News 4 with a letter after the independent Standing Committee and Federal Judiciary conducted a peer review O’Connor, saying in part–
“The confidential peer review revealed several instances of ethical concerns, including candor with the court, evidence of overbilling of clients and billing practices criticized by courts…, and improper contact with adverse parties in litigation.”
Before News 4 could ask the governor or O’Connor any questions about that, they walked out of the swearing in ceremony.
Later, Stitt’s office sent News 4 this statement on the American Bar Association’s vote, saying–
“I have zero concerns about the opinion of an out-of-state, liberal special interest group, and I have the utmost confidence that John O’Connor’s high moral character, 40 years of legal experience and willingness to fight for all 4 million Oklahomans make him the right choice.” – Gov. Kevin Stitt.
Another challenge O’Connor will have to face– the supreme court’s landmark McGirt ruling.
“If the question is will we oppose McGirt? The answer is yes. If the question is will we seek the overturning by the Supreme Court of McGirt? The answer is yes,” O’Connor said earlier in the day in Tulsa.
O’Connor said he’s ready to fight it.
“My guess is this is all about tribal sovereignty issues,” said Rep. Monroe Nichols, (D) Tulsa. “I think it’s a sad statement of affairs that in two months, the governor of our state can only find, of all the people in the state, can only find somebody who has somewhat of a spotty track record, other than being a big donor to Republican political candidates.”
O’Connor will fill the unexpired term ending January 9, 2023.