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St. Louis Attorney Offers “New Missouri Plan”

November 6th, 2007 by mopns · No Comments

St. Louis attorney Bill Placke sent us this email recently regarding a proposal he presented last Friday at the annual Missouri Bankers Association Legal Issues conference in Columbia. Mr. Plake’s plan involves updating the hopelessly outdated 1940 Missouri Plan that chooses judges behind closed doors and wher trial attorneys have an inordinate amount of influence. We have included links to the documents that Mr Placke notes in his email.

Dear Scooter:

Tomorrow at 3:00 p.m., Doug Copeland (past Missouri Bar president) and I will be debating Missouri’s Missouri Plan at the annual Missouri Bankers Association Legal Issues conference in Columbia. At that time, I will be floating a proposal to update the 1940 Missouri form of the Missouri Plan. Having listened to many folks discuss the benefits of a Missouri Plan commission as well as those passionate about the Federal model, the attached concept melds both together, just as 11 other states have done including Delaware and New York, two of the most respected states in the country. By contrast, Missouri’s form of the Missouri Plan has a mere 7 adherents and is an extreme position being the least of all publicly accountable judicial appointment systems.

The new model I am floating is a “Missouri Plan ” and takes many concepts from the American Judicature Society’s model Missouri Plan. The AJS model plan schematic is also attached. The American Judicature Society was established in 1913 and is an independent national organization that advocates on behalf of an independent judiciary. Simply put, it is a quality independent organization that provides some very useful information. And, as you can see from the AJS website, the attached new Missouri Plan fits well within the definition of “Missouri Plan” used by both the Missouri Bar and the American Judicature Society.

Briefly outlining this new proposed plan, there is an up-front bi-partisan commission (5 Dems and 5 Repubs) who submit 5 candidates to the Governor. The Governor selects one nominee from the list and the Senate must confirm. Importantly, the process is completely open to the public, but for background checks and the discussions amongst the Commissioners re. which candidates to put forward. New York, Delaware and a number of other states use the type of model though the Commission composition differs.

The PowerPoint contains an explanation of the plan as well as criticism of the existing plan. Giving credit where credit is due, Tony Messenger originally suggested a bi-partisan commission structure for the AJC and I was happy to see that 2 independent studies confirm that a bi-partisan commission is far better than Missouri’s Missouri Plan at keeping political considerations to a minimum in judicial selections. The notes section to the slide in the PowerPoint explaining the Commission structure shows that the American Judicature Society model plan also states that a study showed that a bi-partisan commission is best at limiting politics as a factor in commission deliberations, encourages the process to be open to the public and leaves as an option legislative confirmation.

The positions here are not Federalist Society positions, but solely my own. The point to be made is that Missouri’s form of the Missouri Plan is out of step with a majority of Missouri Plans adopted in other states and in need of updating . The attached proposal should be a good jumping off point to consider appropriate updates to Missouri’s form of the Missouri Plan.

All the best,

Bill Placke

Related:

Blog CCP: Forum on the Missouri Plan – Nov. 29

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