2020 Overview of Judicial Retention on Oklahoma Ballot

Research compiled by CAIR Oklahoma Interns and edited by Lani Habrock. This work was compiled to help you be an educated and informed voter, CAIR Oklahoma does not endorse candidates for public office, please draw your own conclusions from the data presented.

Judge Gary Lumpkin

Appointed by: Governor Henry Bellmon

Born: Sentinel, Oklahoma

Education: Lumpkin graduated from Weatherford High School in 1964, attended Northwestern State College, Alva, 1964-65 and graduated from Southwestern State College, Weatherford, with a B.S., Business Administration degree in 1968. He received his Juris Doctorate from the University Of Oklahoma School Of Law in 1974.

Family: Judge Lumpkin and his wife, Barbara, have one child, Richard Houston Lumpkin, and are members of Waterloo Road Baptist Church.

Background: Lumpkin is currently a judge of the Oklahoma Court of appeals. Lumpkin of Judicial District No. 3, (Vice-Presiding Judge 1991-1992; 1999-2000; 2005-2006), (Presiding Judge 1993-1994; 2001-2002; 2007-2008, 2017-2018). Judge Lumpkin served on active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1968-1971, serving 18 months in Vietnam. He retired with thirty years of service on June 1, 1998, with the rank of Colonel in the Marine Corps Reserve. He completed his military service as one of only two Marine Reserve judges assigned to the Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals. After working as a staff attorney with the Oklahoma Department of Consumer Affairs and a consultant with a non-profit organization, he was appointed Assistant District Attorney, Marshall County, in 1976, and subsequently First Assistant District Attorney, 20th District. Judge Lumpkin served as Associate District Judge, Marshall County, 1982-1985, and District Judge, 20th Judicial District, Division II, 1985-1989. Appointed to the Court of Criminal Appeals by Governor Henry Bellmon, he commenced his service on the Court in January, 1989.

Lumpkin is running for re-election as judge of the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals. He is on the ballot in the general retention on November 3, 2020.


Judge Rob Hudson

Appointed by: Governor Mary Fallin

Born: Guthrie, Oklahoma

Education: Guthrie High School 1975, Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Economics and Accounting – Oklahoma State University 1980, J.D. – Oklahoma School of Law 1983

Family: Hudson has been married for 35 years to his wife Mary. They have 5 children together and lots of grandchildren.

Background: Hudson started practicing law privately in Guthrie, Oklahoma from 1983 to 1996. Rob Hudson is now a judge in the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals. His current term ends on January 10, 2021. He is running for re-election in the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals this year for the November 3, 2020 election. He was appointed to the court on March 12, 2015, by Republican Governor Mary Fallin to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Charles A. Johnson. He was required to stand for retention by voters in 2016 in order to remain on the bench. His term was considered un-expired. From 2012 until his appointment to the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals in 2015, Hudson served as a special district judge for Logan County – District 9. He served as the first assistant attorney general. He also previously served as a district attorney and chief law enforcement officer for Payne and Logan counties. Hudson owns and operates a wheat and cow-calf operation in Guthrie as well as serves as a Deacon in the First Southern Baptist Church of Guthrie. Rob Hudson was retained in the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals, Hudson’s Seat election with 61.31% of the vote.


Judge Bay Mitchell III (Bay Mitchell)

Appointed by: Governor Frank Keating

Born: 1953 in Enid, Oklahoma

Education: University of Oklahoma for undergrad, University of Oklahoma College of Law

Family: Married for 33 years to wife Debra, 3 children together

Occupational: He was admitted to the bar in 1979 and then spent the next 14 years in private practice in Oklahoma City and Enid. In 1993, he became a staff attorney for the Hon. Carl Jones of the Court of Civil Appeals and in 2002 was appointed by Governor Keating to fill the vacancy on that court left by the retirement of Judge James Garrett. Judge Mitchell was retained by the voters in 2004 and 2006 and is on the ballot again in 2012. In 2009, Judge Mitchell served as Chief Judge of the Court of Civil Appeals. Judge Mitchell is a member of the Oklahoma County, Garfield County and Oklahoma Bar Associations. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Oklahoma County Bar Association and as Chairman of its Continuing Legal Education Committee and Bench and Bar Committee. Judge Mitchell is also a member of the O.B.A. Appellate Practice Section, a Sustaining Fellow of the Oklahoma Bar Foundation, a member of the Supreme Court Committee for Uniform Jury Instructions and a Master of the Ginsburg Chapter of the American Inns of Court. He has been admitted to practice in all Oklahoma state courts, the United States District Courts for the Western and Northern Districts of Oklahoma, the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit and the United States Supreme Court.


Judge Jane Wiseman

Appointed by: Governor Brad Henry

Education: Received her B.A. from Cornell University in 1969, an M.A. in American history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1971, and a J.D. from the University of Tulsa College of Law 1973.

Background: Wiseman started her legal career during law school as a clerk for the firm Rosenstein, Fist and Ringold. Afterwards, she became a legal intern and later an associate until 1975. Until 1977, she worked as a sole practitioner and then appointed as a special judge of Tulsa County and stayed in that position until 1981. Through 1981 until 2005, Wiseman was a judge on the Oklahoma District Court. During her time as judge in District 14, Wiseman worked in the Family Relations Division and then the Civil Division. In 2005, Wiseman was appointed to the court of Civil Appeals by Gov. Brad Henry and Wiseman has been judge of the Court of Civil Appeals since then. Jane Wiseman has been a judge in the Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals for 15 years and is running for retention to the Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals on November 3, 2020.

Judge Tom Colbert

Appointed by: Governor Brad Henry

Born: December 30, 1949

Education: Eastern Oklahoma State College undergrad, Eastern Kentucky University undergrad, University of Oklahoma College of Law, graduate

Background: Colbert is an Oklahoma City native who recieved his associates degree in Health related studies from Eastern Oklahoma State College and proceeded to move to Kentucky to earn his Bachelors degree. Additionally, Colbert joined the United States Army in between the time he attended EKU for undergrad and OU Law, working as an agent for the Criminal Investigation Division. After law school in 1982, young Colbert moved to Wisconsin to take the position of Assistant Dean for Marquette University Law School. He stayed at this position for two years before moving back to Oklahoma City and venturing into his own private practice. In 1999, Colbert was appointed to the Oklahoma Court of Civic Appeals, followed by his appointance to the Oklahoma Supreme Court District 6 in 2004. This latter accomplishment came with recognition of being the first African- American judge to serve on this specific court. In 2013, he was selected as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, which was trailed by his initial position as a judge on the Oklahoma Supreme Court District 6. As of now, Colbert is running for retention to the Oklahoma Supreme Court on November 3, 2020.

Judge James Edmondson

Appointed by: Governor Brad Henry

Born: Born in Kansas City, Missouri in 1945

Education: Graduated from Central High School in Muskogee, Oklahoma, before attending Northeastern State University. He earned his J.D. degree from Georgetown University Law Center in 1973.

Family: He is married to Suzanne Rumler Edmondson and has two children.

Background: James Edmonson is a judge of the Oklahoma Supreme Court for which he assumed office in 2003. His current term ends on January 12, 2025. Edmonson won in the general retention on November 6, 2018. He was running for re-election as judge of the Oklahoma Supreme Court. Edmondson served in the U.S. Navy from 1967 to 1969. From 1978-1981 Edmondson was an Attorney in private practice at the Edmondson Law Office. From 2009-2010 Edmondson acted as Chief Justice. Edmondson is the son of Ed Edmondson, a former U.S. congressman, and June Edmondson. Also, he is a nephew of former U.S. senator and Oklahoma Governor J. Howard Edmondson. Edmondson also has a brother named Drew Edmondson. Edmondson was appointed by Governor Brad Henry (D). He was also succeeded in this position by Justice Steven Taylor. Edmondson regularly held court in Wagoner, Muskogee, Cherokee, Adair, and Sequoyah counties.


Judge Matthew John Kane IV

Appointed by: Governor Kevin Stitt

Born: April 8th, 1962 Pawhuska, Oklahoma

Education: earned a bachelor of science from Oklahoma State University in 1984, then went on to get his Juris Doctor from the University of Oklahoma college of law in 1987

Background: Kane began his career working for his family business “Kane, Kane, and Kane law offices” created by his grandfather where he worked as an assistant district attorney from 1987-1989. From 1999-2005, young Matthew Kane then went on to be an administrative law judge for the Department of Human Services-Child Support division where he made a name for himself and began gaining the trust of his community. From 2005-2019, Kane served as a district judge for district 10 located in Osage county, Oklahoma appointed by Kevin Stitt. Joined the Supreme Court of Oklahoma in September 17th, 2019 after the retirement of previous justice John F Reif. Kane’s term ends on January 10th, 2021 and he is running for re-election in order to keep his spot at Supreme Court justice.


Judge Yvonne Kauger

Appointed by: Governor George Nigh

Born: August 3, 1937 in New Cordell, Oklahoma

Education: Graduated from Southwestern Oklahoma State University for undergrad. She received her law degree from Oklahoma City University in 1969.

Background: Kauger was born and raised in Oklahoma and received an undergrad degree with a major in biology and minor in chemistry and English. She was appointed to the Oklahoma Supreme Court in 1984 and has served since. She helped found the Red Earth Organization, a non-profit that endorses the American Indian culture through several different means including education, festivals, and museum and fine arts markets. In 2001, she was selected to the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame, and has accrued numerous awards throughout her life.
She voted in 2015 to allow nonbiological same-sex marriage couples to serve as parents. 2016, she voted in favor of abolishing an unconstitutional abortion law passed by the Oklahoma Legislature, signed by the Governor. In 2018, she voted to overturn a law that would have cancelled a package that offered pay raises for teachers and schools. She is currently serving a term that will end on January 12, 2025.