"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win." -- Mahatma Gandhi

Post-Dispatch Doesn’t Believe in Free Speech, Continues to Support Secretive Judicial Selection Process

January 26th, 2010 by mopns · No Comments

The Post-Dispatch will serve no party but the people; be no organ of Republicanism, but the organ of truth; will follow no causes bit its conclusions; will not support the Administration, but criticize it; will oppose all frauds and shams wherever or whatever they are; will advocate principles and ideas rather than prejudices and partisanship. — Joseph Pulitzer (1878)

The liberal Post-Dispatch continues to embrace a secret selection process controlled by elite lawyers, using the recent Supreme Court decision overturning the McCain-Feingold ban on corporate campaign expenditures as an excuse to blast attempts to change Missouri’s judicial selection system.

In an argument showing their apparent lack of knowledge about the campaign finance situation in Missouri, they said that the verdict in Citizens United would be felt “in local and judicial elections” first and foremost. They use the fear of “bought” politicians to attempt to scare readers, saying that now corporations will be buying city councils and local judges by the dozen, alleging that the reform movement is nothing more than corporations who want to buy our appellate courts, too.

What they have failed to recognize is that corporations can already contribute to campaigns in Missouri. Despite our state’s finance rules, corporations can’t “buy” politicians. Changing the method of appointing judges to our appellate courts would do nothing to change the reality that elections are ultimately about voters, not donors.

Contrast direct elections (already used by a majority of counties in the state and in many other states) with our current “nonpartisan” system. Everyone knows that liberal trial attorneys like Tim Dollar, Jimmy Halloran, Alan Mandel, Gary and Anita Robb, Steve Garner, Tom Strong, and others have too much influence over who can and cannot serve as a Missouri judge through their friends in the Appellate Judicial Commission. Meanwhile, voters with a legitimate interest in good government are entirely shut out of the process by a commission that operates behind closed doors with little government or citizen oversight. The Missouri Plan is worse than any liberal’s “corporate government” fantasy – this system of secrecy and behind-the-scenes power brokers is our current reality.

If the Post is truly afraid of the influence of outside interests on our courts and not just using the ruling in Citizens United as an excuse to take a swipe at the judicial selection reform movement, they should join reformers in calling for openness and accountability in the judicial selection process.

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Tags: Media Bias · MO Supreme Court

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