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Scholars Support Missouri Plan Reform | Missouri Political News Service

Scholars Support Missouri Plan Reform

March 5th, 2008 by mopns · No Comments

JEFFERSON CITY – Better Courts for Missouri Executive Director Jonathan Bunch today shared several letters submitted by legal scholars urging improvements to the Missouri Plan for selecting judges. According to Bunch, “Legal scholars who have studied judicial selection issues at the federal level and in other states have delivered a clear message: The Missouri Plan would benefit from moderate improvements. Unlike opposition lawyers, who in many cases have a professional or financial interest in the status quo, these professors are interested in improving the rule of law.”

The letters focus on the secrecy of the current process, dominance of the Appellate Judicial Commission by an elite club of lawyers within the Missouri Bar, and the Chief Justice’s powerful role as a tie-breaker. Scholars suggest this combination of secrecy and dominance by a few lawyers leaves the door open for an unaccountable segment of Missouri’s population to exert undue influence in the process for selecting judges.

Although many professors have expressed verbal support to date, the attached letters have been submitted by:

Dean Ron Cass: (Letter)
* Former Dean of Boston University law school from 1990 – 2004.
* Past Chair of the American Bar Association’s Administrative Law Section.
* Past President, American Law Deans Association.
* Former law clerk to the Honorable Collins J. Seitz, Chief Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit.
* Author of many books and articles, including “The Rule of Law in America,” Johns Hopkins University Press.

Professor David Stras: (Letter)
* Law professor at Minnesota Law School.
* Former law clerk to the Honorable Clarence Thomas of the U.S. Supreme Court.
* Former law clerk to Judge Michael Luttig of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit.
* Has authored academic articles on the topic of judicial selection in prestigious journals including the Northwestern University Law Review and the Texas Law Review.

Professor Kris Kobach: (Letter)
* Law professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law.
* Former law clerk to Judge Deanell Reece Tacha of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit.
* Graduate of Harvard College, Masters and PhD in Political Science from Oxford University as a Marshall Scholar, J.D. from Yale Law School.
* Served as Counsel to U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft at the U.S. Department of Justice.
* Following 9/11, Kobach was in charge of Department of Justice efforts to tighten border security.

Professor Stephen Ware: (Letter)
* Law professor at Kansas University Law School.
* Graduate of the prestigious Chicago University Law School.
* Former law clerk to Judge J. Daniel Mahoney, U.S. Court of Appeals, 2d Circuit.
* Has taught in six law schools across the country.
* Recently published an exhaustive study of judicial selection models at the state level.



Tags: Decision '08 · MO Supreme Court

0 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Anne McG // Mar 5, 2008 at 8:28 pm

    These are all obviously very conservative perspectives. How about a little balance?

  • 2 Jim Byrne // Mar 6, 2008 at 10:11 am


    The Missouri Political News Service would welcome opposition letters. You can send them to me, or to Scooter Jackson (editor@mopns.com)

    As always, the commentary section is available for rebuttal. Please feel free to share your thoughts.

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