LETTER: Keep special interest out of the judicial branch, don't change Missouri Court Plan

Wednesday, April 28, 2010 | 12:59 p.m. CDT

Electing people to represent us is how we do things in the U.S. Then why not elect judges as some initiative petitions are presently suggesting?

Here is the short answer. When we elect our legislators or our senators or our executives, we hope that they will represent our ideas, our views, our partisan positions. Sometimes the people we vote for are elected and sometimes not. This is democracy.

Judges on the other hand are not intended to represent special interest groups. Their job is to umpire, using the laws made by our legislators and the Constitution. Their allegiance is to the law and to making fair and impartial judgments.

When judge selection is the result of partisan elections, we see special interests financing campaigns and therefore judges influenced by these special interests, or at the very least the appearance thereof. That's why in Missouri we have the Missouri Court Plan, copied in one form or another by over 30 states, in which judges are chosen based on merit. I am so proud that Missouri has been at the forefront in this country on a system of nonpartisan judge selection that truly results in qualified, impartial judges in our courts. Furthermore this plan has worked for 70 years without any evidence of corruption. It's a keeper!

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