Missouri: Senate plan calls for impeachment of judges who don’t interpret constitution in certain ways; threshold for any government act would be “beyond a reasonable doubt”

A member of the Missouri Senate wants to impeach judges in the state that make certain decisions that fail to interpret the state’s constitution as originally understood by voters.

SJR 42 as introduced provides for a three step system for all judicial decisions.

  1. Any interpretation of a state constitutional provision “shall be resolved by determining how each word of phrase in the relevant provision most likely would have been understood by the voters at the time they ratified that provision.”
  2. Any government “law, regulation, or policy” is hereafter presumptively unconstitutional.
  3. The presumption of unconstitutionality can only be overcome if the government proves beyond a reasonable doubt the law, regulation, or policy is both a) necessary for the prevention of a specific, nonspeculative threat to the public health and safety and b) the least restrictive means of preserving public health and safety.

The plan then threatens with impeachment any judge who fails to use the three step test.

Any other provision of this constitution notwithstanding, a judge’s failure to comply with the terms of this section shall be grounds for impeachment of that judge.

SJR 42 has been filed in the Senate but not yet assigned to a committee.