Judge rules in favor of group seeking to repeal Missouri's judicial-selection system
This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 26, 2010 - Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan and a group out to repeal the state's 60-year nonpartisan court plan found themselves on the same side today, when a Cole County judge tossed out a suit aimed at the repeal effort.
The suit -- brought by former state Sens. Roseann Bentley, R-Springfield, and John Schneider, D-St. Louis County, and Springfield, Mo. lawyer Annie Busch -- contended that Carnahan erred in approving the initiative petition that the repeal group is using to get their proposal on this fall's ballot. The lawsuit cited various technical provisions that they said the petition failed to meet.
But Judge Patricia Joyce disagreed, saying the Carnahan had acted correctly in approving the initiative petition and in her ballot summary.
The initiative petition proposal seeks direct election of Missouri's judges, ending the constitutional requirement in the urban and suburban areas -- and for the state appellete and Supreme Court -- where the governor chooses the judges from a three-person group of nominees chosen by a panel made up of gubernatorial appointees and members of the Missouri Bar.
Outstate judges already are elected.
The pro-repeal group, known as ShowMe Better Courts, is jubilant over the court decision, said spokesman/executive director James Harris.