In Missouri, Conflict Over Judicial Selection May Continue

Despite Missouri voters’ decisive rejection of a ballot measure to undermine the merit-based selection of judges (see Gavel Grab), backers of the ballot item vowed to renew their efforts.

“We’re not going away; the movement or the effort is not stopping,” said James Harris, a leader of a group called Better Courts for Missouri that has sought to alter the way judges are chosen. “We made a strategic decision to withdraw on Amendment 3 and kind of regroup and move forward with something more aggressive,” Harris said, according to an Associated Press article.

“Missouri’s voters have decisively rejected a special-interest campaign to inject politics into Missouri’s courtrooms,” Justice at Stake Executive Director Bert Brandenburg said in a press release after 76 percent of Missouri’s voters cast their ballots against the proposal.

The leading defenders of Missouri’s existing system, often called the “Missouri Plan,” said they will keep alive and active the group that opposed and helped defeat the ballot measure, the Missourians for Fair and Impartial Courts Committee.

“We look forward to continuing this work for the months and years to come so that we can ensure that we keep politics out of our courtrooms and so that we can ensure Missourians have fair and impartial judges,” said Skip Walther, the group’s treasurer.

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