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A commemorative plaque on a landing in the main stairway of the Missouri Supreme Court Building in Jefferson City.

Some of our previous coverage:

The irony impaired opponent of the “Missouri Court Plan”

Attack on the Non-Partisan Court Plan

The Missouri Plan: In Plain English

The House put forward HJR 10 this session, which would modify the Missouri Court Plan. The current summary of HJR 10:

Summary of the Perfected Version of the Bill


COMMITTEE OF ORIGIN:  Special Committee on General Laws

Upon voter approval, this proposed constitutional amendment increases from three to four the number of judicial candidates nominated by the Nonpartisan Judicial Commission for a vacancy in the office of judge of specified courts from which the Governor may make an appointment. The Governor may veto the first list of candidates provided by the commission within 60 days. If the

panel of judicial candidates is vetoed, the commission must submit a second list of nominees.  The Governor must choose a candidate from the second list within 45 days or the commission is authorized to appoint one of the nominees from the second list.

The substitute changes the composition of nonpartisan judicial commissions. There will be eight members of the Appellate Judicial Commission chosen as follows:

(1)  A justice of the Missouri Supreme Court and three members of the Missouri Bar, each a resident from a different court of appeals district, selected by the members of the Missouri Bar;

(2)  Three citizens who are not members of the bar and are each a resident from a different court of appeals district, appointed by the Governor; and

(3)  One citizen, from anywhere in the state, appointed by the Governor.

Each circuit judicial commission will consist of six members to be composed of the chief judge of the requisite district, two attorney members elected by the Missouri Bar members residing in the judicial circuit and three citizens residing in the judicial circuit and appointed by the Governor.  The terms of all members, two of who must not be Missouri Bar members, of the judicial commissions will be four years.  Each appointment to the Appellate Judicial Commission and circuit judicial commissions is subject to the advice and consent of the Senate within 30 legislative days of the appointment by the Governor.

The new citizen member of either the appellate or a circuit judicial commission may be chosen by the Governor on or after January 15, 2013.  The term of all current judicial commissioners will expire upon the effective date of the substitute, and commissioners will be replaced according to the previously described process.

The judicial selection process must favor openness and public access. All hearings, debates, and votes of the commissions must be open to the public and to the press with no less than 72 hours public notice given before each meeting.  The list of applicants for any judicial vacancy must be open to the public with their names posted on the web site of the Missouri Supreme Court and all information available to the respective commissions on the judicial candidates must be made available to the Governor. Every applicant nominated will be subject to a background check, including a criminal check, which will not be a public record, but available only to the commission and the Governor.

The substitute transfers the responsibility for the approval of expenses incurred in the administration of the judicial selection plan from the Missouri Supreme Court to the Commissioner of the Office of Administration.

FISCAL NOTE:  No impact on state funds in FY 2010, FY 2011, and FY 2012.

The latest Senate action, Senate Journal, page 1286 [pdf]:

…Senator Lembke moved that HCS for HJR 10, with SS (pending), be called from the Informal Calendar and again taken up for 3rd reading and final passage, which motion prevailed.

SS for HCS for HJR 10 was again taken up.

Senator Stouffer assumed the Chair.

Senator Lager offered SA 1, which was read:


Amend Senate Substitute for House Committee Substitute for House Joint Resolution No. 10, Page 3, Section 25 (d), Line 13, by striking the word “seven” and inserting in lieu thereof the following: “eight”; and further amend line 20 by striking all of said line and inserting in lieu thereof the following: “additional two citizens, not members of the bar, nor the spouses of a”.

Senator Lager moved that the above amendment be adopted, which motion prevailed on a standing division vote.

At the request of Senator Lembke, HCS for HJR 10, with SS, as amended (pending), was placed on the Informal Calendar…

[emphasis in original]

There are only a few days left in the session. It’ll be very interesting to see where this one goes. Here’s hoping we don’t get something that operates like the current federal system.