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The Missouri Nonpartian Court Plan – Picking Judges Based on Merit

The Kansas City Star recently published an article written by Missouri Bar President, Patrick B. Starke on how Judges should be picked based on their merit, which is part of the Missouri Nonpartisan Court Plan. 

Currently, Missouri follows the Missouri Nonpartisan Court Plan, which allows judges to be selected based upon merit, rather than political affilitation.  In the circuit courts, each circuit has a circuit judicial commission which is composed of the Chief Judge of the appeals district in which the district is located, two lawyers who are elected by  the bar and two citizens selected by the Governor of Missouri.  This Committee reviews applications for judge candidates and selects a three person judicial panel.  The Governor then appoints one person from the panel to serve as the Judge.  Clay County is one of several counties in Missouri that follows the Missouri Nonpartisan Court Plan.

Last November, Amendment 3, was voted on by the citizens of Missouri which sought to change the way judges were picked.  If Amendment 3 had passed, which it did not, it would allow the Governor the authority to appoint a majority of the comission, that would select the court nominees and all members of the committee would be lawyers.


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