A powerful state senator denies accusations that he’s playing politics with the selection of state judges. Sen. Charlie Shields (R-St. Joseph), the Majority
Floor Leader, has called on members of the Appellate Judicial Commission to appear before the Senate Rules Committee to discuss how they go about their business. The commission will send Supreme Court Chief Justice Laura Stith as its representative.
Shields is among the Republican lawmakers who have questioned whether the commission violated the Sunshine Law by holding its meetings in private. Some have suggested that Shields and his Republican colleagues are turning what is supposed to be a non-partisan selection process into a very partisan one.
Shields says he doesn’t want a complete overhaul of the Missouri Plan, but he says that there should be a way to make the process more open.
The Appellate Judicial Commission sent Governor Blunt a panel of three from which to choose a replacement for Ronnie White, who left the State Supreme Court to enter private practice. Blunt chose Western District Appeals Court Judge Patricia Breckenridge.