A new group has been formed to renew the attack on the Missouri Non-Partisan Court Plan.
Grumblings about the judiciary in general and the Missouri Plan in particular have been heard the past few years in the Missouri legislature. Though such criticism has lingered, no viable alternative has gotten far in the legislative process. That could change this year.
The new group is called Better Courts for Missouri . Executive Director Jonathan Bunch says the group hopes the legislature will put a reform measure on the ballot in November. If that prove unsuccessful, it might go the initiative petition route.
Change being suggested includes the expansion of the Appellate Judicial Selection Commission, which provides the governor with three nominations from which to choose. The group wants the commission to count fewer lawyers among its members and more citizens. It also says parts of the selection process need to be subject to the Sunshine Law.
Former Supreme Court Judge Chip Robertson, spokesman for the opposition group Missourians for Fair and Impartial Courts , says the Missouri Plan doesn’t need to change. Robertson says the Missouri Plan works and enjoys a broad base of support. He rejects the changes suggested by Better Courts of Missouri, insisting that the changes they advocate would hurt the plan.