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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Thad H. Balkman (born October 23, 1971) is an American politician, lawyer and judge.

Early life and education

Balkman grew up in a Mormon family in Long Beach, California, attending Long Beach Polytechnic High School.[1][2] His home in Long Beach was the house used as the titular character's home in Ferris Bueller's Day Off.[3] He attended Brigham Young University, where he earned a bachelor's degree in political science in 1994. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma College of Law in 1998.[4][5]

Legal career

He worked for the law firm that represented 1996 Republican candidate Steve Byas, who sued incumbent Oklahoma House of Representatives member Wallace Collins for libel.[2][6] Balkman campaigned for Eric Hawkins in 1998, who lost to Collins.[7]

State legislature

Balkman won the Republican nomination for district 45 of the Oklahoma House of Representatives in 2000, running against John English and Randy Boyd,[8] and defeated Collins in the general election.[7] Balkman faced Collins for a second time in 2002, and retained his seat.[2][9] Two years later, he faced Estelle Cash, and won a third legislative term.[10] Balkman was subsequently named leader of the House Republican Caucus and the Appropriations and Budget Subcommittee on Health and Social Services.[11] He was voted out of office in 2006, and succeeded by Collins.[9]

Judicial career

In October 2013, Governor Mary Fallin appointed Balkman to the district court based in Cleveland County, where he succeeded justice Tom Lucas.[12][13] Balkman took office on November 1, 2013.[14][15] He won a full term on the bench in 2014 and a second term in 2018.[4]

In the biggest case of his career, he heard "the opioid trial", in which the State of Oklahoma sued the pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson, accusing them of pushing opioid drugs in the state. On August 26, 2019 Balkman found Johnson & Johnson responsible for creating a "public nuisance" under state law, saying that the company's "misleading marketing and promotion of opioids created a nuisance" and that it "compromised the health and safety of thousands of Oklahomans."[1] He ordered the company to pay a fine of $572 million. It was the first such judgment in the nation. The company said they will appeal.[16]

Community service

Balkman co-founded the Oklahoma branch of the Brigham Young University Management Society in 2009.[17] He later became executive director of the Oklahoma Lawyers Association.[18]

Personal life

Balkman is married to Amy, with whom he has five children.[12][14] He is a bishop in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.[15]


  1. ^ a b Drash, Wayne (August 26, 2019). "From Ferris Bueller to opioid trial: A judge's wild ride into history". CNN. Retrieved 26 August 2019.
  2. ^ a b c Gaddie, Ronald Keith (2004). Born to Run: Origins of the Political Career. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 89–99. ISBN 9780742519282.
  3. ^ Drash, Wayne (August 26, 2019). "From Ferris Bueller to opioid trial: A judge's wild ride into history". CNN. Retrieved August 26, 2019.
  4. ^ a b "Balkman to seek re-election as county district judge". The Norman Transcript. April 8, 2018. Retrieved July 18, 2018.
  5. ^ "Updates". BYU Magazine. Brigham Young University. 2014. Retrieved July 18, 2018.
  6. ^ English, Paul (December 3, 1998). "Norman Lawmaker Urged to Resign". The Oklahoman. Retrieved July 18, 2018.
  7. ^ a b "Thad Balkman". The Oklahoman. August 6, 2000. Retrieved July 18, 2018.
  8. ^ Singleterry, Wayne (August 20, 2000). "Tuesday's elections part one of three Republican presence gaining". The Oklahoman. Retrieved July 19, 2018.
  9. ^ a b Mock, Jennifer (July 15, 2006). "District 45 incumbent seeks 4th term". The Oklahoman. Retrieved July 18, 2018.
  10. ^ Rabe, Josh (October 20, 2004). "Democrat challenges Norman incumbent". The Oklahoman. Retrieved July 18, 2018.
  11. ^ "Profiles". BYU Magazine. Brigham Young University. 2005. Retrieved July 18, 2018.
  12. ^ a b Cannon, Jane Glenn (October 5, 2013). "Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin appoints new judge for Cleveland County". The Oklahoman. Retrieved July 18, 2018.
  13. ^ "Former legislator Thad Balkman hired to county district judge post". The Norman Transcript. October 4, 2013. Retrieved July 18, 2018.
  14. ^ a b "Former state representative sworn in as judge". The Oklahoman. November 2, 2013. Retrieved July 18, 2018.
  15. ^ a b Adkisson, Shana (November 13, 2013). "Judge Thad Balkman settling into new job". The Moore American. Retrieved July 18, 2018.
  16. ^ Howard, Jacqueline; Drash, Wayne (August 26, 2019). "Oklahoma wins case against drugmaker in historic opioid triall". CNN. Retrieved 26 August 2019.
  17. ^ Hinton, Carla (April 18, 2009). "Chapter has ethics as focus". The Oklahoman. Retrieved July 18, 2018.
  18. ^ "Updates". BYU Magazine. Brigham Young University. 2010. Retrieved July 17, 2018.
This page was last edited on 27 August 2019, at 00:53
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