The Missouri Senate has given final approval to a resolution that would give sitting governors more influence over the Nonpartisan Court Plan.
With a 19-12 vote on Tuesday afternoon, the Senate sent the proposed constitutional amendment to the Missouri House, where it would need to pass before going to the voters.
Currently, the Appellate Judicial Commission comprises three citizens chosen by the governor, three lawyers elected by other members of the bar, and the chief justice of the Supreme Court. The measure by Sen. Jim Lembke, R-St. Louis County, would expand the commission to eight members, though one would be a nonvoting former judge chosen by the Supreme Court. The chief justice would no longer sit on the commission.
The governor would pick four of the seven voting members of the commission. Unlike the current plan, those appointees wouldn’t necessarily have to be nonlawyers. The bar would continue to elect the remaining three.
The proposal also requires the commission to send the governor four nominees for appellate and Supreme Court vacancies, instead of three.
In an interview this week, Rep. Stanley Cox, R-Sedalia, predicted the measure would be “very popular in the House.” Cox, an attorney, is the author of a similar proposal that the House approved last month.
The resolution is SJR51.