Missouri group files petition on referendum for restoring judicial elections
JEFFERSON CITY, Missouri: Better Courts for Missouri on Thursday filed an second initiative petition with the Missouri Secretary of State's Office. This time, it's a petition that would replace the Missouri Plan for selecting appellate judges with direct elections. If approved by the voters in November of 2010, Missouri would have direct elections for the Missouri Supreme Court and the Missouri Court of Appeals like its neighbors in Illinois.
An initiative filed earlier in the year by Better Courts for Missouri is in litigation as a result of a lawsuit filed by groups who prefer to continue the practice in Missouri of having a small commission pick the state's high court judges.
In a statement in regards to direct elections, James Harris, the Director of Better Courts for Missouri said: “Direct elections are the primary method of appointing judges in many other states, as well as at the local level in a majority of counties in Missouri. It’s not like this is a new, untested idea. While the group of ambulance chasers that dominates the current process will no doubt voice concern and try to obstruct this attempt to give the people a voice, their concern is based upon the realization that they will no longer be able to use the secrecy and lack of accountability under the current system to bend the court to their will. All along, our goals have been very simple: increasing transparency, increasing citizen control, and reducing the influence of the trial bar.”