St. Louis Public Radio News
7:02 pm
Tue June 23, 2009

Price: Minor changes to Mo. Plan could be okay

Jefferson City, MO – The incoming Chief Justice of the Missouri Supreme Court indicates he's open to a few changes to the system used to select judges for the High Court, Appeals courts and some circuit courts.

William Ray Price, Junior, says he could accept changing the constitution to allow an additional citizen to sit on the panel that nominates appellate judges in Missouri.

He also says the Supreme Court could look into publicizing all applicants for judicial vacancies, instead of just the three finalists.

But Price opposes more sweeping changes he says could make the selection process more political.

"The brilliance of the Missouri Plan is it is full of checks and balances...it doesn't let any particular person or governmental position have too much control of who makes it through the process and who gets appointed," Price said.

Critics say lawyers have too much influence on who gets nominated for judicial vacancies, and have been proposing changes that would allow the governor to have more say in who gets to serve as a judge in Missouri.