Gov. Kevin Stitt gets three finalists for Oklahoma Supreme Court vacancy

Chris Casteel
Oklahoman
Judge Rebecca Nightingale

Three female judges made the final cut Thursday for the Oklahoma Supreme Court vacancy, as the state Judicial Nominating Commission set up Gov. Kevin Stitt to pick his third justice for the nine-person court.

The finalists announced by the commission are: Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Dana Kuehn; Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals Judge Stacie Hixon; and Tulsa County District Judge Rebecca B. Nightingale.

Stitt has 60 days to pick one to replace former Justice Tom Colbert, who retired in February. Stitt, who has been in office less than three years, has already selected two justices: M. John Kane IV and Dustin Rowe.

Judge Dana Kuehn (Ralph Schaefer/For TBLN)

The court currently has two female justices: Noma Gurich and Yvonne Kauger,

All three finalists for the current vacancy received their undergraduate degrees from Oklahoma State University, which is Stitt’s alma mater.

Kuehn, who is presiding judge of the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals, has been on the court since 2017. She received her law degree at the University of Tulsa and was a prosecutor in the Tulsa County District Attorney’s Office for nearly a decade and tried more than 75 cases as lead counsel. She also served as an associate district judge in Tulsa County

Hixon was appointed last year by Stitt to the Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals. She also received her law degree from the University of Tulsa. She was in private practice before the appointment and specialized in insurance bad faith and insurance coverage cases, along with employment law and general civil litigation.

Judge Stacie Hixon

Nightingale has been a district judge since 2003. She received her law degree from the University of Oklahoma and worked as a prosecutor in the Tulsa County District Attorney’s Office and in private practice.

The other candidates considered by the Judicial Nominating Commission were: Tulsa County District Judge Kurt C. Glassco; Tulsa County District Judge James R. Huber; Tulsa attorney James C. Milton; Tulsa attorney Jennifer L. Struble; and Washington County Associate District Judge Russell C. Vaclaw.