Efforts to amend or end Missouri’s merit/commission system of judicial selection appear to be ramping up in 2018.
On the legislative side:
- HJR 47 would end the commission system and allow a governor to fill appellate and select trial court vacancies subject to 2/3rds Senate confirmation. Judges would be subject to yes/no retention elections.
- SJR 28 would provide that a nominating commission send all qualified names to the governor to fill a vacancy. Currently the constitution provides the commission is to send three names. A similar plan, SJR 11 of 2017, cleared the Senate General Laws Committee last year.
On the initiative side:
- End the commission system for appellate courts and replace with partisan elections.
- Reduce the terms in office for appellate judges from 12 years down to 6
- Require the election of the chief justice by the state at large (currently chosen by the court)
- Term-limit appellate judges to two consecutive terms
- Allow judicial candidates to announce views on disputed legal and political issues
- Void any rule of court that would require recusal/disqualification for any such announcements
- Personally solicit funds for their campaigns