Opponents organize over Missouri court measure

Thursday, August 23, 2012 | 7:23 a.m. CDT; updated 9:33 a.m. CDT, Thursday, August 23, 2012

JEFFERSON CITY — Defenders of Missouri's method of appointing appellate judges are fighting a proposed constitutional amendment to change the system.

For decades, judges on the Missouri Supreme Court and the state Court of Appeals have been selected by the governor from three finalists recommended by a special commission. The commission is made up of one Supreme Court judge, three lawyers and three non-lawyers chosen by the governor.

A question on Missouri's November ballot would have the commission nominate four finalists instead of three. It would also replace the judge on the panel with a fourth person chosen by the governor.

A group called Missourians for Fair and Impartial Courts Committee scheduled news conferences Thursday to explain its opposition to the question. Members include former state Supreme Court judges and business and community leaders.

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