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This week a Missouri House committe approved proposed changes to the Nonpartisan Court Plan or "Missouri Plan."  The Missouri Plan sets forth how state appellate judges are assigned to their seats.  Under the current Plan, there are seven citizens of the State of Missouri assigned to the Appellate Judicial Commission that selects three finalists for possible appointment to the Missouri Court of Appeals bench.  Currently the Commission is compromised of three attorneys that have been elected by members of The Missouri Bar, three non-attorney citizens chosen by the governor and the chief justice of the Missouri Supreme Court.  The governor then chooses the new appointment from the finalists given to him by the Commission.
The proposed SJR51 will change who is selected for the Appellate Judicial Commission by allowing the governor to appointment one more non-attorney citizen to the Commission, as well as, removing the chief justice from the equation completely.  The new Commission will then be compromised of seven voting members and one non-voting members.  Besides the four non-attorney voting members chosen by the governor, three attorneys still chosen by member of The Missouri Bar and one non-voting former judge chosen by the Supreme Court will comprise the Appellate Judicial Commission.  The final change will be that four finalists will be chosen for submission to the governor, instead of the current three finalists. 
Although some opponents of the changes feel they will give too much power to the governor to appointment judges with his same political beliefs, the resolution has already been approved by the Missouri Senate and will be voted on by the entire House later this month.  If the resolution passes the House, it will then be placed on the ballot for the November elections for approval by voters. 



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