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Chief judge warns bar, judiciary of encroaching interest groups

In a luncheon address today to attorneys and judges at The Missouri Bar’s annual meeting, Missouri Supreme Court Chief Justice William Ray Price Jr. warned the bar about special interest grounds pounding at the courthouse doors with political agendas in tow.

Below are some excerpts from Price’s 14-minute speech. Click here to read the full text of the speech.


  • “I will not talk about the various proposals to change the Missouri merit selection plan. Nor should any inference be drawn from what I say today regarding any of those proposals. But we must talk about the general political landscape and why it threatens our legal system.”


  • “Each group develops a funding source, and within each group a spokesperson or executive director steps forward to maintain the intensity of the group’s particular message. Generally, these are good people with the best of intentions. But often they see no further than their own interests. They are willing to sacrifice all other considerations, even when inevitable damage to the whole will occur.”


  • “Our focus and our intensity must be on justice first and justice for all. We must fight for it just as hard as the special interest groups fight for their agendas. We must do so, both individually and as members of The Missouri Bar, at a level we have never dreamed of in the past.”


  • “During fiscal 2009 we released back to the state nearly $3 million of monies appropriated to us. Our present budget anticipates that we will release back to the state another $3 million. Although these cuts are unprecedented, we must bear our portion of the shortfall. There is no use in complaining.”