A new group has formed to defend the Missouri Non-Partisan Court Plan which it contends is under partisan attack.

Some Republican lawmakers criticized the Missouri Plan before. They now claim the three nominees sent Governor Blunt to fill a vacancy on the State Supreme Court prove their point. They criticize the Appellate Judicial Commission for sending Blunt two judges placed on the bench by a Democrat and one by a Republican.

Former Chief Justice Chip Robertson with the group Missourians for Fair and Impartial Courts calls it a balanced panel. He says Eastern District Appeals Court Judge Nannette Baker and Western District Appeals Court Judges Patricia Breckenridge and Ronald Holliger are all experienced appellate judges who have shown no signs of judicial activism. Former Governor Mel Carnahan, a Democrat, appointed Baker and Holliger to the bench. Former Governor Christopher Bond, a Republican, appointed Breckenridge to the bench.

Robertson disagrees with critics who say the commission has, in effect, made the choice by forwarding only one Republican candidate to Governor Blunt. Robertson says Blunt’s detailed investigation into the backgrounds and work of the three will disclose that he has not been placed in a box by the commission. He says the investigation will reveal the quality of the three nominees.

The vacancy on the Supreme Court occurred when Ronnie White stepped down to enter private practice. Governor Blunt has 60 days to choose his replacement among the three candidates.

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