Justice Steven Taylor

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Chief Justice
Supreme Court of Oklahoma (retired)

Justice Steven W. Taylor was born June 7, 1949 in Henryetta, Oklahoma.
He graduated from McAlester Public Schools in 1967. He earned his B.A. in Political Science from Oklahoma State University in 1971. Justice Taylor received the Juris Doctor degree from the University of Oklahoma College of Law in 1974.

Taylor joined the United States Marine Corps in 1970 and served on active duty from 1974-1978. He was trained as an infantry platoon commander and later served as a prosecutor and Chief Defense Counsel. In 1977, he became the youngest judge in the U.S. Armed Forces. He was promoted to the rank of Major.

Following his active duty service in the Marines, Taylor practiced law in McAlester from 1978-1984. In 1980, he was elected to the McAlester City Council, and in 1982, was elected Mayor of McAlester, making him the youngest Mayor in that city’s history. He was named one of Three Outstanding Young Oklahomans for 1983.

In 1985, in recognition of Taylor’s leadership in economic development, the City of McAlester named a multi-million dollar industrial park for him where many industries now employ several hundred Oklahomans. In 1997, he was named “Citizen of the Year” in McAlester. Taylor serves on the Board of Directors of the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, Oklahoma City National Memorial and the Oklahoma Heritage Association. He is a member of the First United Methodist Church of McAlester and is a trustee of Oklahoma City University. His wife, Mary is a retired public school teacher. They have one son, Wilson who is Manager of Team Operations for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Justice Taylor is the co-author of a book, “The University of Oklahoma College of Law: A Centennial History.”

In 2002, Taylor was recognized by Oklahoma State University as a “Leadership Legacy” and 2003 “Distinguished Alumnus.” In 2007, Justice Taylor was inducted into the Oklahoma State University Hall of Fame and in 2009, the University of Oklahoma presented him with the Regents Alumni Award. He is the only person to have received the highest alumni recognition from both OSU and OU.

In March 1984, Governor George Nigh appointed Taylor Associate District Judge for Pittsburg County. In 1991, he was the first Associate District Judge ever to be elected President of the Oklahoma Judicial Conference. In 1994, Taylor was elected District Judge of the 18th Judicial District. In 1997 and 2003, he was elected Presiding Judge of the ten county East-Central Judicial Administrative District. In 2003, Taylor was the recipient of the Oklahoma Bar Association’s “Award of Judicial Excellence” designating him as the outstanding Oklahoma judge of the year.

In his over 20 years as a trial judge, he presided over more than 500 jury trials including the state trial of the Oklahoma City bombing case.

On September 24, 2004, Governor Brad Henry appointed Taylor to be a Justice of the Supreme Court of Oklahoma. Justice Taylor served as Chief Justice from 2011-2013.

During the 2007 Oklahoma Centennial year Oklahoma magazine named Justice Taylor as one of the “100 Who Shaped Us” – a list of living and past Oklahomans who influenced the first 100 years of our state. In 2009, Justice Taylor was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame, the highest honor an Oklahoman can receive from the state.

After 33 years of judicial service, Chief Justice Steven Taylor retired on December 31, 2016.

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Chair of the Day

 Judge Robert H. Henry became the 17th President of Oklahoma City University in July 2010. In a unique public service career, Robert Henry served in each branch of government.
From 1976 to 1986 he was a member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives; in 1986 and again in 1990, he was elected Attorney General of Oklahoma. He was later appointed to the
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, where he served as Chief Judge. His long-standing relationship with OCU began in 1991 when he joined the faculty of the Oklahoma City University School of Law, where he served as Dean and Professor of Law from 1991 until 1994.

President Henry serves on the boards of directors of Devon Energy, the Oklahoma Hall of Fame, the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, and the OKC Allied Arts. Additionally, he serves on several national and international boards including the advisory boards of iCivics, the Ralph Ellison Foundation, and the Vera Institute of Justice in New York City. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and is a life member of the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws. His previous service includes the Advisory Board for the Judicial Outreach Program of the American Society of International Law, the Board of the A.B.A. Rule of Law Initiative. He was the first chair of the A.B.A.’s Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Council. From 2009-2013 Henry served on the board of directors for the Foundation for the Future (a human rights and prodemocracy organization) based in Amman, Jordan.

Henry has taught at Oklahoma Baptist University (Business Law); the University of Tulsa  College of Law (Legal History and also
serving as the inaugural Distinguished Judge in Residence); the University of Oklahoma (Law and Literature at Oxford, England); and the University of Oklahoma College of Law, Oxford and
Norman programs (Law and Literature). His scholarship has been published in numerous law reviews and by the university presses of Oxford, Nebraska, and Oklahoma. He has also published widely in magazines and newspapers, as well as authored the entry for “Civil Rights” in the Dictionary of Oklahoma. He has presented numerous lectures at law schools here and abroad, including the 2010 Madison Lecture at New York University and the 2011 Pedrick Lecture at Arizona State Law.

Among his honors, he was named Leadership Oklahoma’s 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award, and was made an honorary member of the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma. He received the Dalsimer Dean’s Award by the Pepperdine School of Law, the Annual Human Rights Award by the Oklahoma Human Rights Commission; the A.C. Hamlin Award by National Black Caucus of State Legislators; and the Humanitarian of the Year Award by National Conference of Christians and Jews (the precursor organization of the Oklahoma Center for Community and Justice). President Henry will be inducted to the Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Hall of Fame in September, 2015.

A native of Shawnee, Oklahoma, President Henry received his B.A. and J.D. degrees from the University of Oklahoma. He has received honorary degrees of Doctor of Humane letters from the University of Tulsa and an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws from Oklahoma City University


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