To The Editor:
Missouri’s judiciary is well-recognized nationally as a leader. One of the many reasons is that our state’s judges are selected under the Missouri Nonpartisan Court Plan. The plan is the least political way of providing our courts with quality judges while still giving voters the final say.
Our courts, legislators and the lawyers from The Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis worked very hard in 1940 to pass a constitutional amendment that instituted what is now nationally known as the Missouri Plan. It applies to judges on the Missouri Supreme Court, the Missouri Court of Appeals and the circuit courts in the city of St. Louis and St. Louis, Clay, Greene, Jackson and Platte counties.
When there is a judicial vacancy, applicants are screened by commissions made up of civilians appointed by the governor and attorneys elected by their peers — based on experience, intelligence and common sense — and chaired by the chief justice or an appellate chief judge. The commission selects three candidates from whom the governor chooses the new judge. No matter the political party, every governor in Missouri since the early 1940s has appointed excellent, well-qualified judges.
Under the Missouri Plan, the people retain the final say over their judges. You will have the chance to have your say during the Nov. 6 general election. For judges seeking to be retained in office, a committee made up of lawyers and non-lawyers has studied the judges’ performances and provided judicial reviews. The judges up for retention this year have been given excellent ratings. We encourage you to visit www.YourMissouriJudges.org for more information about each judge and vote to retain our excellent judges.
We were way ahead of the rest of the states in adopting this excellent system, and more than 30 states have adopted similar plans. The Missouri Plan consistently has ensured we have fair and impartial judges who are beholden only to the rule of law and not to politicians or campaign donations. We must protect it.
John G. Simon
BAMSL President, 2018-2019
The Simon Law Firm, LLC
Edward L. Dowd, Jr.
BAMSL President, 2017-2018
Dowd Bennett LLP