Read the State Legislative Tracker. New edition available now!

Difference between revisions of "Missouri Judicial Selection Amendment (2010)"

From Ballotpedia
Jump to: navigation, search
m (Text replace - " as as " to " as ")
m (Text replace - " <ref " to "<ref ")
Line 55: Line 55:
  
 
In a statement in regard to direct elections, [http://www.thejharriscompany.com.com James M. N. Harris], the executive director of [[ShowMe Better Courts]] said:  
 
In a statement in regard to direct elections, [http://www.thejharriscompany.com.com James M. N. Harris], the executive director of [[ShowMe Better Courts]] said:  
<blockquote>“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.” <ref name="mo plan" /></blockquote>
+
<blockquote>“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.”<ref name="mo plan" /></blockquote>
  
 
==Ethics complaint against Missouri Bar==
 
==Ethics complaint against Missouri Bar==

Revision as of 09:20, 25 February 2014

Not on Ballot
Proposed allot measures that were not on a ballot
This measure did not or
will not appear on a ballot
The Missouri Judicial Selection Initiative did not appear on the November 2, 2010 general election ballot in the state of Missouri. The Office of the Missouri Secretary of State announced on August 3 that supporters did not submit enough valid signatures by the state's early May filing deadline. Supporters of the measure expressed some possibility that they would file a lawsuit contesting the state's conclusion.[1]

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 system that existed at the time, which they said, was prone to being influenced by special interest groups.[2][3]

On May 2, 2010, the state's petition drive deadline, supporters filed an estimated 250,000 signatures from all nine congressional districts.[4] The petition drive began on July 13, 2009.[5] The Missouri Secretary of State had until August 3 to verify the submitted signatures.[6]

Ballot summary

See also: Text of Missouri Judicial Selection Amendment (2010)

Version 2

The official ballot title of Version 2 was (certified September 4, 2009):[7]

Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to repeal the current nonpartisan court plan for the selection of judges of the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, and Courts in St. Louis City and Jackson, Platte, Clay, St. Louis, and Greene Counties and to create a new method of selecting such judges through appointment by the Governor with advice and consent of the Missouri Senate?[8]

Version 3

The official ballot title of Version 3 was (certified November 12, 2009):[9]

Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to:
  • repeal the current nonpartisan court plan used to select judges and the current prohibition on judges participating in political campaigns;
  • select all judges through partisan elections; and
  • reduce the terms for Supreme Court and Court of Appeals judges from 12 to 8 years?

Fiscal impact

According to the secretary of state's office, "Most local election authorities estimate no costs or savings, however, some local election authorities may incur estimated costs of $25,000 to $184,536 for each general election if the proposal results in the need for additional ballot pages. The proposal may result in an estimated savings of $7,741 to state governmental entities."

Support


Judicial Selection Missouri Ballot Initiative, 5/2/10

ShowMe Better Courts was the sponsor of the proposed judicial selection amendment.

Donors

The campaign effort in support of the initiative received a total of about $1.6 million in contributions as of early May 2010. According to reports the six-figure amounts were donated by David Humphreys, a Joplin roofing contractor, and Stanley Herzog, a St. Joseph contractor.[10] Better Courts for Missouri was also a significant donor to the campaign.[11]

Opposition

Missourians for Fair and Impartial Courts Action Fund was opposed to the proposed measure and supported the existing judicial selection method. The existing system for selecting judges to the Missouri Supreme Court, Appeals courts and some circuit courts relied on judicial panels to select nominees, which were then chosen by the governor.[12]

Lawsuits

See also: 2010 ballot measure litigation

On September 15, 2009 two lawsuits were filed in the Cole County Circuit Court against the proposed amendment.[13]

  • One lawsuit, filed by Jefferson City attorney Alex Bartlett, argued that the petition for the proposed constitutional amendment did not follow the laws governing the initiative process and should be thrown out.[14] Secretary of State Robin Carnahan approved the petitions for circulation on September 8.[15]
  • The second lawsuit, filed by Jefferson City lawyer Heidi Doerhoff Vollet on behalf of former state Sen. Harold Caskey, argued that State Auditor Susan Montee did not offer an accurate fiscal note. The lawsuit would have required for Montee to issue a new fiscal note and thus block circulation of the petitions until the legal battles were settled.[14]
    • Ballot measure supporters said December 31, 2009 that they were seeking to intervene in the lawsuit in order to help move it forward.[16]
  • On February 26, 2010 Cole County Circuit Court Judge Patricia Joyce ruled that the challenge was invalid.[17] Judge Joyce said the summary that would appear on petitions was fair and sufficient.[18]
  • An appeal was argued and submitted on July 22, 2010. However, on August 3, 2010 the secretary of state announced that the initiative had failed to qualify for the 2010 ballot because an insufficient number of valid signatures were obtained. Shortly, thereafter the court dismissed the case on the grounds that the case was moot and a ruling would have no impact on the 2010 initiative efforts.[19]

Second initiative petition

ShowMe Better Courts on October 9, 2009 filed a second initiative petition with the Missouri Secretary of State's Office. This time, the petition that would have replaced the Missouri Plan for selecting appellate judges with direct elections. If approved by the voters in November of 2010, Missouri would have had direct elections for the Missouri Supreme Court and the Missouri Court of Appeals like its neighbors in Illinois.[20].

An initiative filed earlier in the year by ShowMe Better Courts was 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.[20]

In a statement in regard to direct elections, James M. N. Harris, the executive director of ShowMe Better Courts 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.”[20]

Ethics complaint against Missouri Bar

On March 12, 2010 ShowMe Better Courts filed an ethics complaint against the Missouri Bar, a state-created association for state lawyers. The complaint alleged that the state Bar had been using funds in the campaign against the proposed measure. According to the complaint, the Bar was a creation of the Missouri Supreme Court as such, was only allowed to use funds to educate others about the court. James Harris of ShowMe Better Courts said, "No group is above the law and the law is clear that organizations or individuals who engage in political activity to influence the electorate have disclosure and reporting requirements associated with that activity." However, Missouri Bar president Skip Walther said that the association had not spent any money against the proposed measure and the appeal was "replete with inaccuracies."[21][22]

On June 4, 2010 the Ethics Commission dismissed the complaint. According to the decision, the Ethics Commission declared that the Bar’s costs — for brochures, power point presentations, emails and other materials – was not sufficient to require the association to report its contributions under the Missouri law.[23]

Path to the ballot

See also: Missouri signature requirements

To qualify for the ballot, each initiative required signatures from registered voters equal to 8% of the total votes cast in the 2008 governor's election from six of the state's nine congressional districts. On May 2, 2010, the state's petition drive deadline, supporters filed an estimated 250,000 signatures from all nine congressional districts.[4] The petition drive began on July 13, 2009.[24]

According to an analysis by opponents in late May 2010 supporters failed to file sufficient signatures. However, supporters said the analysis was flawed and called the group behind it "self-interested ambulance-chasers." The analysis was conducted by the Missourians for Fair and Impartial Courts Action Fund. According to the group, they identified that too few signatures were submitted in at least five congressional districts and only a total of about 200,000 signatures were submitted.[25][26]

The Missouri Secretary of State had until August 3 to verify the submitted signatures.[6] The Office of the Missouri Secretary of State announced on August 3 that supporters did not submit enough valid signatures by the state's early May filing deadline. Supporters of the measure expressed some possibility that they would file a lawsuit contesting the state's conclusion.[1]

Timeline

See also

BallotpediaAvatar bigger.png
Suggest a link

Articles

External links

Additional reading

Editorials

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Ozarks First,"Judicial Issue Fails to Make the Ballot," retrieved August 9, 2010
  2. Columbia Daily Tribune, "Drive targets judge selection", July 13, 2009
  3. Judgepedia.org, "Better Courts for Missouri", 2009
  4. 4.0 4.1 Watchdog.org,"Four initiatives aim for the Missouri ballot," May 2, 2010
  5. 2010 Missouri Election Calendar, 2010
  6. 6.0 6.1 Associated Press,"Four petition drives, including one to repeal KC’s earnings tax, meet state deadline for submission," May 2, 2010
  7. Missouri Secretary of State,"Constitutional Amendment to Article V, Relating to Repealing the Nonpartisan Court Plan, version 2 2010-061," retrieved November 23, 2009
  8. St. Louis Post-Dispatch,"Ballot title approved for Missouri court plan repeal," September 8, 2009
  9. Missouri Secretary of State,"Constitutional Amendment to Article V, Relating to Repealing the Nonpartisan Court Plan, version 3 2010-071," retrieved November 23, 2009
  10. The Kansas City Star,"Money, money, money fuels Missouri petition drives," May 4, 2010
  11. Missouri Ethics Commission, Campaign Finance Committee Info
  12. St. Louis Public Radio,"Mo. judicial ballot question has failed, opponents say," May 26, 2010
  13. Associated Press,"2 lawsuits challenge proposed Mo. ballot measure on judicial selection," September 15, 2009
  14. 14.0 14.1 News Tribune,"2 lawsuits seek to block court-changing petitions," September 15, 2009
  15. St. Louis Post-Dispatch,"Ballot title approved for Missouri court plan repeal," September 8, 2009
  16. Associated Press,"Missouri backers of court changes seek to join lawsuit," December 31, 2009
  17. St. Louis Post-Dispatch,"Ballot initiative to require direct election of judges gets court OK," February 26, 2010
  18. Associated Press,"Mo. judge rejects suit over court ballot measure," February 26, 2010
  19. http://www.leagle.com/unsecure/page.htm?shortname=inmoco20100824258 Leagle,"Busch v. Carnahan," August 24, 2010]
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 "St. Louis Post Dispatch" UPDATE: Anti-Missouri Plan group now seeks direct election of judges, October 7, 2009
  21. St. Louis Post-Dispatch,"Missouri Bar hit with ethics complaint over alleged campaign violations," March 12, 2010
  22. Associated Press,"Mo. lawyers' group accused of violating ethics," March 13, 2010
  23. St. Louis Post-Dispatch,"Ethics Commission rejects complaint against Mo. Bar," June 10, 2010
  24. 2010 Missouri Election Calendar, 2010
  25. Missourian,"UPDATE: Group says Missouri court critics missed signature target," May 26, 2010
  26. Associated Press,"Supporters of appointed judges think opponents missed petition signature goal," May 26, 2010