Missouri's Nonpartisan Selection of Judges Court Plan Essay

Missouri's Nonpartisan Selection of Judges Court Plan Essay

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During the 1930’s, the community became more and more displeased with the growing role of politics in judicial selection and judicial decision-making. Judges were inundated by outside pressures due to the political features of the election process, and dockets were overcrowded due to time the judges spent campaigning. In November 1940, voters amended the Missouri constitution by adopting the Nonpartisan Selection of Judges Court Plan. This plan was placed on the ballot by initiative petition. The acceptance of the plan by initiative referendum resulted from a public repercussion against the widespread abuses of the judicial system by the political machine in Kansas City and by the political control exhibited by ward bosses in St. Louis (Missouri Nonpartisan Court Plan, n.d.).
The Missouri Plan is a judicial selection process utilized by certain States in the US. The Plan unites an appointment procedure with the popular vote. Under the Plan, a selection committee offers the Governor of the state with the names of three candidates for office. If the Governor selects one of the candidates within sixty days, that person is appointed to the bench one year; if not, the committee makes the selection and appointment. After a year, the justice runs unopposed on the next general election ballot. If the voters support their retention, then the justice serves the number of years specified for the position in that state's constitution. If the voters contest retention, the selection process starts over. In the beginning “twelve states used the Missouri Plan to fill appeals-level judicial vacancies: Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming. Tennessee, Florida and California ...


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...hat would work any better. Those who are in favor of merit selection offer it as a preferable option to the politics and fundraising intrinsic in judicial elections, while those against it uphold that the appointive process itself is political, and that, in addition, people have a right to elect their judges.
It seems that no matter what plan is used to select judges there is so element of politics and partisan that creep into the process. The question comes down to how much politics and partisan is wanted. It looks as if the more politics and partisan there is the worse the outcomes appear to be. The Missouri Plan appears to limit the politics that are involved and thus is the best plan that there is to select judges to the bench. This plan should be more widely adopted in order to limit the prejudices that are obviously everywhere in the system today.


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