TULSA, Okla. (AP) -- In his first state Supreme Court

appointment, Gov. Frank Keating selected Judge Daniel Boudreau of

the Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals to succeed retiring Justice

Robert Simms on the state's highest court.

"It was a very difficult selection process because there really

were three wonderful candidates," Keating said. "But one

individual is significant. One individual is an intellect. One

individual is of enormous integrity and is gifted of mind and that

is Daniel Boudreau."

Boudreau and his wife, Mary, stood alongside Keating. Also at

the news conference Tuesday were five judges of the state Court of

Civil Appeals, where Boudreau serves as vice chief judge.

"I am very anxious to have a strict constructionist, an

individual who focuses not on making the law ... but on

interpreting it," Keating said.

Boudreau will succeed Simms, who is leaving the Supreme Court

after 27 years. The 73-year-old Simms served as chief judge from


Keating called Simms an "outstanding jurist" and said it was

only appropriate to name his successor in Simms' hometown of Tulsa.

Boudreau served as a special judge and a district court judge in

Tulsa County from 1980 to 1992. He received his law degree from the

University of Tulsa and a master's degree from Rutgers University.

He has an undergraduate degree from Boston College.

"I expect to be a judge, as I have in the past, that exercises

judicial restraint," Boudreau said. "I have an awareness that the

Legislature in this state has a responsibility to declaring public

policy and not the court.

"The responsibility of judges is to decide cases and

controversy before them on as narrow basis as possible"

It has been seven years since a justice has been named to the

Supreme Court, when Gov. David Walters appointed Justice Joseph

Watt in May 1992.

Boudreau's appointment still leaves one vacancy on the

nine-member Supreme Court. Justice Alma Wilson died in July.

Keating said he expects a list of three finalists for Wilson's spot

from the Judicial Nominating Commission within a month.

"I am very sensitive in the judicial selection process to find

the very best people as a result of my own legal background and my

pride in being a lawyer," said Keating, who served as a U.S.

attorney from 1981 to 1986 in Tulsa.

The judicial nominating process has been criticized by Rep. Opio

Toure, who said it discriminates against minorities.

Toure, D-Oklahoma City, told the Tulsa World that he will seek

changes to the state constitution regarding appointments to the

state Supreme Court and Court of Criminal Appeals.

Oklahoma has never had a black person appointed to the high

court or the Court of Criminal Appeals, Toure said. He said he

would push for a constitutional amendment to increase the number of

finalists to five so the governor has a greater choice. He also

said he wants the governor to be able to reject all finalists if he

determines that the nominating commission was biased.

Toure said he was "absolutely outraged" that the nominating

commission failed to interview the lone black applicant for the

vacant position left by Ms. Wilson. Norman attorney Melvin Hall,

one of 17 applicants for the post, said he learned last week that

he would not receive an interview. He was not told why.

James E. Pence, the chairman of the Judicial Nominating

Commission, would not comment on Toure's charges.

"Our people work very hard on the nominations," Pence said.

"We try to do our best to send three candidates to the governor

that are the most worthy of the position."