Missouri judicial reform efforts revisited
JEFFERSON CITY, Missouri: Every judge that appeared on the ballot for retention under the Missouri Plan was re-elected this year by an average of 67% but that doesn't mean concerns about the judicial process have been put to ease. Efforts to reform Missouri's judicial process continue to be revisited by lawmakers.
In 2010, a citizen initiative effort failed to qualify for the ballot after proponents failed to collect sufficient signatures. The proposed constitutional amendment would have allowed the governor to select his or her own judge to rule on the Missouri Supreme Court. The state senate would then have had to confirm the appointment of the judge, similar to the federal courts process. The group began the petition drive in order to eliminate the current "Missouri Plan" which they said was prone to being influenced by special interest groups. According to supporters of the initiative, they plan to renew the effort for 2011.
Sen. Jim Lembke also announced that he is planning to propose changes to the system in the upcoming year. Rep. Stanley Cox too has announced a similar effort. Lembke said he plans to propose bringing the federal judge selection process to the state of Missouri, similar to the initiative proposal. However, he's also considering only making small changes to the current Missouri Plan. Such changes include adding citizens to the appellate judicial commission and removing a sitting member of the Supreme Court from the commission in order to add balance.