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The Missouri Bar President Comments on Legislature’s Approval of Resolution that Would Politicize Missouri’s Non-Partisan Court Plan

President Lynn Whaley Vogel Says Justice for All in Hands of Missouri Voters

May 10, 2012

JEFFERSON CITY, MO – Missouri Bar President Lynn Whaley Vogel today commented on the General Assembly’s approval of Senate Committee Substitute for Senate Joint Resolution 51. The resolution would go to a vote of the people in November unless the governor calls a special election.

“SCS SJR51 would inject politics and money into Missouri’s judicial selection process by granting future governors full control over the commission that selects the candidates for appellate judge submitted back to the governor.

Voters should know this proposed constitutional amendment would give a governor more power than the president when it comes to choosing judges. It gives governors unchecked power through control of a voting block of four of the seven commissioners two years into their first term.

This fall, the people of Missouri will have the opportunity to defend justice for all by rejecting Jefferson City lawmakers’ efforts to amend our constitution to produce appellate judges that are beholden to politics rather than ruling impartially on the law.

Our parents and grandparents, through the initiative petition process, rejected corrupt judicial elections for our state’s highest courts and put in place the least political way to choose our judges. The people of Missouri have defended the Non-Partisan Court Plan before, and are now asked to do so again.

The Missouri Bar will continue to work to prevent the politicization of Missouri’s merit-based selection process that has worked for the people of Missouri for more than 70 years by providing fair and impartial judges.”

SCS SJR51 would also remove a Missouri Supreme Court Judge from serving and voting on the appellate judicial commission and dilute the quality of the selection process by increasing the number of applicants nominated by the panel. The Missouri Bar Board of Governors last month adopted a motion continuing their endorsement of Missouri’s current Non-Partisan Court Plan and opposing SCS SJR51.

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