Tweaking the Judicial Selection Process
Our newest policy analyst, David Stokes, spent years involved with local and county government, and other area organizations, before joining us. He recently applied the breadth of his experience and insight to the judicial selection process, in an op-ed we posted to our site yesterday (also picked up by the Missouri Political News Service).
Anybody paying attention to Missouri news recently will know about the recent controversy over judicial selection, with each side claiming that the other wants the process politicized in its favor. Some have called the legitimacy of the Missouri Plan into question, but David thinks the system has a great deal of value that a few important tweaks would enhance:
Missourians amended our state constitution in 1940 to change the ways judges were selected for the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals and the circuit courts of Jackson County and Saint Louis City. This was done in response to public concerns about the power of political machines in electing judges under the previous system. Dubbed “The Missouri Plan,” it has been expanded to include circuit judges in Saint Louis, Clay, and Platte Counties. The amendment’s provisions replaced elections with a judicial commission, which reviews applicants for open positions and narrows the list down to three choices. The governor then selects a new judge from that panel. The system has worked very well for Missourians, taking some of the politics out of judgeships and efficiently filling vacancies. However, a few important changes could make the plan work even better.
Read more about David’s proposed changes on the Show-Me Institute website.