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“Missourians For Fair and Impartial Courts” Letter to Missouri Bar Associations

September 20th, 2007 by mopns · No Comments

The Missouri Political News Service obtained this letter that was recently sent out by Missourians For Fair and Impartial Courtsto every Bar Association in Missouri:

You no doubt over the last few months have taken note of the intense debate over the Missouri Nonpartisan Court Plan. As a result, an influential group of organizations have come together to organize Missourians For Fair and Impartial Courts (MFIC). MFIC, a 501 c (4), is a broad-based coalition of organizations and individuals devoted to protecting Missouri courts from attacks and preserving the Missouri’s highly regarded nonpartisan court plan.

Simply stated and limited in scope, the mission of MFIC is to research, advocate and organize support for the Missouri Non-Partisan Court Plan and the independence of the Judiciary, and to oppose initiatives that weaken the Missouri judicial system.

The initial MFIC board of directors includes several legal and education organizations including: Missouri School Boards Association, Missouri National Education Association, Missouri American Federation of Teachers, Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys (MATA), Missouri Organization of Defense Lawyers (MODL), and Missouri Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (MACDL).

As you know, this past legislative session, HJR 1 and 31 were debated, and if passed, would have gone on the ballot as constitutional amendments.

HJR 1 proposed a constitutional amendment which would have limited the jurisdiction of the Missouri Supreme Court as well as lower courts in certain types of tax cases. It could have barred citizens, businesses and even local governments from resolving tax related issues, or even challenging anything the legislature wants to do or doesn’t want to do with public money. Proponents of the bill say we need HJR 1 to solve a problem; yet, in 200 years, no Missouri court has ever created or raised taxes

HJR 31 would have asked Missouri voters to do away with the Missouri Non-Partisan Court Plan, which is the state’s highly-regarded, 67 year old system of appointing and retaining judges. Missouri’s plan is a model for other states, 30 of which have adopted portions of the plan. The current selection process under the Missouri Plan protects the judiciary from total control by one political party or another – thus putting fairness and qualifications over partisanship.

While HJR 1 and 31 failed to pass in 2007, both are certain to be re-introduced next session, and if passed, will go on the 2008 ballot. To defeat these measures, we believe we must have a pro-active strategy to educate Missourians and interested organizations about the implications of these activities.

We believe these issues are important to your members, and would respectfully ask that your organization lend their name as a supporter of our efforts and mission. We are not asking your group to contribute funds; however, your help with our education and outreach efforts, particularly with your members and local partners, would be invaluable.

I encourage you to visit our website www.protectjustice.org to learn more about our coalition. Please feel free to contact us by rely email or by calling 573-636-2822 if you need more information or have questions. I look forward to hearing from you and hope we will be able to add your group to our growing list of supporters of Missourians for Fair and Impartial Courts.

I have attached a copy of the Sign Up form which may be completed and returned.

Sincerely,

Randy Scherr
Missouri Organization of Defense Lawyers

Sara Schuett
Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys

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Blog CCP: Intimidation of Judges is the Real Goal

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