Missouri: committee hearing on plan to change number of names Nonpartisan Judicial Commissions submit to governor

Missouri, the proverbial home of the “Missouri plan” of merit/commission based judicial selection, has long had a “three-person provision”: the state’s Nonpartisan Judicial Commissions are to give the governor three names for a judicial vacancy,

the governor shall fill such vacancy by appointing one of three persons possessing the qualifications for such office, who shall be nominated and whose names shall be submitted to the governor by a nonpartisan judicial commission

SJR 11, as introduced, would simply delete the “three persons” language. That constitutional amendment is before the Senate General Laws Committee today. It’s a repeat of SJR 30 of 2016 which had a hearing before the Senate Judiciary committee but never advanced.

Over the last several years there have been numerous efforts to remove or alter the three-person provision. As I noted when this came up in 2015/2016 these mostly focused on 4/8 or 5/10 plans. Under the proposals the initial list submitted to the governor would be made up of 4 or 5 persons (vs. the current 3). The governor would be allowed to reject the list and ask for a new one, for a total of 8 or 10 nominees.