Talk:Missouri Plan

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Rationale for POV-check tag[edit]

This article’s neutrality is contested. Specifically, there is concern that sock puppets or biased single purpose users may be preventing reliable information from being posted in the ‘Criticism’ section of the article. Sourced information regarding criticisms of the plan may be the subject of biased deletions. (Moved here from article header. Ashdog137 (talk) 00:47, 17 May 2008 (UTC))

Deleted information[edit]

Sources and information that has been deleted by what could be a single purpose account:

Criticisms of the Missouri Plan[edit]

Excessive Influence of Elite Trial Attorneys[edit]

Better Courts for Missouri has argued that flaws in the current plan give elite trial lawyers too much control over judicial selection. According to the organization's executive director, "they are a small, insular group who have their interests. They have a lot to add to the process, but we don't think they should dominate the process - (and they) are in no way accountable to Missourians." [1]

It is easy to call the lawyer members of the Appellate Judicial Commission "elite trial lawyers," but a look at the actual biographies of the members calls that label into question. The three current (August 2011) members are: John Wooddell, Nancy Moghab, and JR Hobbs. Wooddell is a partner in a four-lawyer personal injury firm in Springfield; he focuses on medical malpractice cases. Moghab exclusively handles worker compensation claims. She works in a four-lawyer St. Louis firm founded by her father. JR Hobbs is a Kansas City criminal defense lawyer. With the exception of Wooddell, none are part of the plaintiffs Bar that Better Courts for Missouri is constantly complaining about in their literature. The Commission member from St. Louis who preceded Moghab was Gerry Carmody, then a senior trial partner at Bryan Cave, a law firm that is very establishment and pro-corporate interests.

In short, the lawyer members reflect a wide range of interests and perspectives among lawyers, while the three lay members reflect the views and interests of the governors who appoint them.

I would note one other canard found on the Better Courts for Missouri website; that is, that the Commission routinely selects panelists of the the same political party as the sitting governor. While this fact is largely true, it does not reflect a desire on the part of the Commission to please the governor. Rather, it reflects the fact that lawyers who are known as Democrats don't bother to apply for judgeships when the Governor is a Republican, and visa versa, because ultimately the Governor gets to pick one of the three and, it is commonly believed, is not going to pick someone affiliated with the other party. Since the applicants self-select, the Commission when the Governor is a Democrat are picking three panelist from a field of Democrats, so it is natural that they end up sending three Democrats to the Governor. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 75.13.129.57 (talk) 04:04, 29 August 2011 (UTC)

Disenfranchisement of African Americans[edit]

Former Missouri State legislator and lawyer, Elbert Walton, has focused on the plan's effect on African Americans. "It is unfair that lawyers elect judges . . . It disenfranchises people and it especially disenfranchises black people." [2] At a press conference in February, 2008, Walton accused Missouri Bar President Charlie Harris of ignoring the Missouri Plan's effect on black people. Walton pointed to the fact that there had never been an African American elected to one of the Missouri Bar's three slots on the Appellate Judicial Commission, and suggested that Mr. Harris "ought to be ashamed of himself" for supporting such a plan.[3]

Elbert Watkins is not a credible source. If you Google him, you will find that he has had a history of taking political positions for his own financial benefit. The key example of that was his role as attorney for the Northwest First District, where he received a retainer of $120,000 per year, plus hourly fees. Note that he was not a full-time employee of the district; it was just one of his clients. No other attorney for any other fire district is the St. Louis area was paid as much as $30,000 per year for their services. He was ultimately removed from his role by the Courts pursuant to a lawsuit brought by the County Prosecutor. He has also been involved in other scandals and actions by the Bar. Also, his comment fails to note that members of the Appellate Judicial Commission are to an extent self-selected: one has to decide to run for the position and then is elected by the lawyers in the relevant appellate district. In the 25 years I have been practicing law in the St. Louis area, I am aware of only one African-American candidate putting his hat into the ring for the Eastern District seat on the Commission. He was not elected, but I would expect that it was not because of racism but because he was so controversial. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 75.13.129.57 (talk) 03:47, 29 August 2011 (UTC)

Governor Phil Bredesen of Tennessee has complained of his own state's version of the Missouri Plan for similar reasons.[4]

Dominated by Politics[edit]

The Editors at the Wall Street Journal wrote that, "If the recent slugfests have proven anything, it's that Missouri's courts are every bit as hung up in politics as they are in other states. The difference is that in Missouri the process happens behind closed doors." [5]

In Tennessee, Democratic Governor Phil Bredesen made similar complaints and made comments echoing those made by Better Courts for Missouri. According to Bredesen, "I think [the nominating commissioners] have been vastly too political in their selection process. And what they are supposed to do is give you the best candidates in the ideal world." [6]Freemarketman (talk) 18:30, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bob Watson, "Opponents of judicial selection process form new group" Jefferson City News Tribune. Accessed 2008-14-03.
  2. ^ Jason Noble, "Another amendment, another hearing, more of the same debate on the judicial selection process KC Star 2008-26-02. Accessed 2008-14-03.
  3. ^ Scott Lauck, St. Louis attorney says blacks left out of judicial selection Daily Record
  4. ^ Justice at Stake, Bredesen complains about Missouri Plan
  5. ^ Wall Street Journal Missouri Compromised 2007-22-12. Accessed 2008-14-03
  6. ^ Andy Sher. Chatanooga Times Free Press"Bredesen Wants Nominating Commission to Operate in Open 2008-14-01.

Missouri plan official site changed from .asp to .jsp ? See below: http://www.courts.missouri.gov/page.jsp?id=297 —Preceding unsigned comment added by 129.21.43.185 (talk) 08:56, 10 November 2009 (UTC)

California is not a true Missouri Plan state[edit]

The article is not quite right in calling California a Missouri Plan state. In California, the governor can initially nominate anyone he wants to be a judge (that is, there is no limitation at the initial nomination stage). The nomination then goes to the Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation, which produces a recommendation as to the qualifications of the nominee. The Chief Justice of California then convenes the Commission on Judicial Appointments, which consists of himself, the Attorney General, and the most senior presiding justice of the Courts of Appeal (for Supreme Court appointments) or the presiding justice of the Court of Appeal of the affected district (for all other appointments). The CJA then holds a public hearing and decides whether to confirm the nominee or not. Only if the CJA votes to confirm, then the nominee actually becomes a judge. --Coolcaesar (talk) 14:27, 3 April 2009 (UTC)

Unbalanced article[edit]

This article heavily stresses the criticisms of the Missouri Plan, without going into adequate detail on its merits. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 209.112.192.146 (talk) 20:10, 3 August 2010 (UTC)