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Rep. Jason Lowe (left); Sen. Jim Inhofe (center); Sen. James Lankford (right)

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By Oklahoma State Representative Jason Lowe (HD-97)

There’s a saying I’ve always thought was interesting; “There is no honor among thieves.” I haven’t been able to get that phrase out of my head lately, and I’ll tell you why. 

I’ve been a criminal defense attorney for 15 years and have had the privilege of serving as an Oklahoma state representative since 2016. 

Over the years, I’ve represented numerous clients who I would consider more honorable than some of the folks who occupy public office in our state. A lot of names come to mind, but I’m going to try and keep this short.

As an attorney, my professional life has been molded by the understanding that I have a responsibility to abide by a strict set of ethics. 

As an elected official, I’ve brought the same sense of duty to the Oklahoma State Capitol – understanding that the citizens of Oklahoma house district 97 placed their trust in me to represent them honorably. My clients and constituents know they can always trust me to mean what I say and say what I mean.

Oklahoma’s U.S. senators can’t say the same.

Senator Jim Inhofe and Senator James Lankford have exhibited dishonorable behavior in the wake of the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. 

I won’t pretend that I’m surprised, but the brazen disregard for their own words has me shaking my head. 

In 2016, our senators shrugged off Judge Merrick Garland, the then-federal prosecutor who led the investigation and prosecution of Timothy McVeigh in the wake of the Oklahoma City Bombing. 

Citing “the long-standing, election-year precedent” of waiting until after the election to “let Americans have a voice on the future direction of the court.” They issued a joint statement saying, “a presidential election year is not the right time to start a nomination process for the Supreme Court.” 

No caveats. 

No conditions.

So, what’s really changed between 2016 and 2020?

The power dynamic.

It takes a principled-person to withstand the temptation that comes with power. It’s been said that a person is only as good as their word, and it’s clear that Senators Inhofe and Lankford will fall in line even if it means contradicting themselves. 

Over the last few days, they’ve worked to explain away their hypocrisy and moral ambiguity. But Oklahomans see their excuses for what they are. They aren’t representing Oklahomans or our values, and we have to hold them accountable.

I do not agree at all with the choice they made in 2016 to not even consider a man who fought for the victims of the Oklahoma City Bombing, but I could have respected them now, in 2020, if they chose to stand on the precedent they established back then.

I’m calling on Senator Inhofe and Senator Lankford to live by the professional ethics they claimed in 2016 – “let Americans have a voice on the future direction of the court.” 

We have less than 40 days until the election. 

Let us speak. 

The Black Wall Street Times is a news publication located in Tulsa, Okla. and Atlanta, Ga. At The BWSTimes, we focus on elevating the stories of our beloved Greenwood community, elevating the stories of...