A plan to get the legislature involved in the selection of the state’s top judges has stalled in the senate and is not likely to see more debate unless strong wills on both sides of the issue loosen up.

Missouri’s non-partisan court plan relies on the Supreme Court Chief Justice, three lawyers and three private citizens to give the governor three nominees for state supreme court and appeals court seats, regardless of political affiliation.

Among the critics is Senator Brad Lager of Maryville who wants to have five citizens, who have to be approved by the senate, and three lawyers. "I believe it should be drive….by real citizens, not lawyers," he says.

But opponent Wes Shoemyer of Clarence says opponents of the bill are not just lawyers, citing one of many opposition groups, AARP, as "just regular folks."

Shoemyer and Senator Jolie Justus of Kansas City pretty much ran out the clock on the debate by talking at length about other organizations of "regular folks" opposed to changing the plan.

The Senate floor leader says the bill will not come back for more debate unless the two sides can find middle ground—an unlikely event.


upload Bob Priddy’s story (:53 mp3)