The Missouri Bar contends a campaign against the Non-Partisan Court Plan is an unprecedented effort to politicize the selection of judges.
Missouri Bar President, Attorney Ron Baird of Springfield, says there’s a simple reason that the organization for lawyers has come out in support of the Missouri Plan, "The Missouri Bar has always been a supporter of the Non-Partisan Court Plan."
The Bar hasn’t singled out any one campaign, but charges that misleading political ads from detractors are nothing more than scare tactics. The Adam Smith Foundation has sponsored a series of radio ads critical of the Missouri Plan. Many Republicans lawmakers have been critical as well and some of their criticism seems particularly well-timed to coincide with the radio campaign.
Baird defends the Appellate Judicial Commission as a hard-working group that spent days to settle on the three candidates for the Supreme Court vacancy. Baird says members followed the rules outlined by the state constitution to select what they consider the best three candidates, "So to suggest otherwise is a disservice to the people of Missouri."
Baird flatly dismisses suggestions the commission violated the Sunshine Law. Baird points out that the Appellate Judicial Commission operates by rules contained in the state constitution. He says they have abided by those rules and that their practice of holding closed meetings reflects not just the confidentiality required by the state constitution and the State Supreme Court, but reflect the normal practice used in business during the hiring process. Baird contends the commission not only followed the letter of the Sunshine Law, but carefully followed its spirit as well.