The Missouri Bar President Comments on Senate's First Round Approval of Resolution that Puts Political Appointees at Helm of Court Plan

April 26, 2012

JEFFERSON CITY, MO – Missouri Bar President Lynn Whaley Vogel today commented on the Missouri Senate’s first round approval of Senate Committee Substitute for Senate Joint Resolution 51. The Missouri Bar Board of Governors last week adopted a motion continuing their endorsement of Missouri’s current Non-Partisan Court Plan and opposing SCS SJR51.  

“The Missouri Bar is disappointed in the Senate’s voice vote to advance a measure that would inject politics and money into Missouri’s judicial selection process. We appreciate the thoughtful comments by several senators, but were surprised by the rushed nature of the debate as more consideration should be given to any issue that would change our state’s constitution.

The Missouri Bar will continue to work to educate Missouri’s elected officials, members of the bar and citizens on how SCS SJR51 would politicize the judicial selection panel by granting future governors full control over the commission that selects the candidates for appellate judge submitted to the governor. This would effectively eliminate Missouri’s merit-based judicial selection process.

SCS SJR51 would hand future governors control of four out of seven commissioners within a single term in office, remove a Missouri Supreme Court Judge from serving on the appellate judicial commission, and dilute the quality of the selection process by increasing the number of applicants nominated by the panel. These changes would harm a system that has produced fair and impartial judges for the people of Missouri for more than 70 years.”

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