Governor Matt Blunt (and Jeff Roe) want to get rid of the Missouri Non-Partisan Court Plan. Why - to allow big-money influences into our judicial system. Alabama has the most expensive partisan races for their Supreme Court in the country (we all know Alabama's reputation for being on the cutting edge of progressive issues). That's what Blunt wants - turn us into Alabama.
The Alabama Birmingham newspaper has had enough of folks buying justice in their state. Check out this guest editorial that highlights the obscene amounts of money that is spent.
Candidates in the state's 2006 Supreme Court races raised a total of $7.3 million, making it the most expensive such races in the country. That is, frankly, an obscene amount of money.
According to the Annenberg Public Policy Center, 63 percent of people surveyed believe pressure from campaign donors would affect a judge's impartiality to a great or moderate extent. That is a dangerous erosion in public trust.
Our justice system should belong to all of us, not to an inner circle of special interests. By taking our appellate judges and Supreme Court justices out of the partisan political process, we preserve confidence in our courts.
The article goes on to explain why electing judges in partisan campaigns is a bad idea.
Some will ask what's wrong with electing judges. Why should they be different from lawmakers and governors?
The simplest answer is that judges are different. Legislators make laws, and voters should know what laws they intend to enact. Judges apply existing law to the facts of each case. They make hard decisions, and they must be neutral.
In reality, court rulings often affect large, powerful interests - both plaintiff and defendant - that are more than willing to underwrite runaway campaign costs.
Governor Blunt, while we know that you love to reward big donors with nice jobs, we would prefer to have a neutral, impartial judiciary. Don't turn us into Alabama. Let's hope we can make it to November of 2008 to get Nixon into the Governor's mansion.