St. Louis Republican State Representative Jim Lembke is the lead opponent of the Missouri Nonpartisan Court Plan. He filed HJR 51 to eliminate from our state Constitution the Commission of Retirement, Removal and Discipline of Judges. Rep. Lembke sponsored HJR 52 to change the state Constitution to get rid of the Missouri Nonpartisan Court Plan.
Rep. Lembke loves inserting politics into the neutral judiciary so much even his Republican colleges think he has an ethics problem. The January 7, 2008 edition of Missouri Lawyers Weekly includes an article about Lembke attempting to impeach Judge Christine Hutson, associate circuit judge in Laclede County. According to the article, "Lembke filed a resolution in early December with Speaker Rod Jetton's office calling for a special House committee to investigate allegations [that Judge Hutson] committed certain acts and omissions that would be grounds for impeachment." Lembke sent Judge Hutson a letter saying this was in relation to a child custody case and took the highly unusual act of telling Judge Hutson to recuse herself. You guessed it, Judge Hutson is a Democrat and out-state judges have to run in partisan races. Can you say separation of powers?
Rep. Darrell Pollock - the Republican representative from Laclede County - asked Lempke to withdraw the resolution "in a Dec. 14 letter that questioned whether Lembke's actions might themselves appear unethical and asking Lembke to recuse himself from further activity in the case." Rep. Pollock's letter asked "What are your intentions in this case? I also ask what role do you believe the Missouri House of Representative has in this particular case?" I'll answer that question - Rep. Lembke thanks judges should be bullied around like he was the King of England. Politics over justice. Pollock went on to say "I feel its not our responsibility to look over a judge's shoulder every two or three minutes and make a claim they're using their bench for oppression." Republican Representative Pollock is right, we don't want that. Friends of the politically powerful should not get one version of justice and everyone else gets screwed. That is un-American.
Lembke wouldn't say who brought the divorce case to his attention. The case is Claire Noland v. Brent Vance and involves custody of the kids. Messy, messy, messy. Vance's lawyer, Ed Clausen, said he didn't ask Lembke to get involved and that Lembke was "doing the bidding" of an unhappy party. Noland's father, Jim Nolan, was a Republican state legislator who ran unsuccessfully for Congress.
This is the kind of nastiness that is caused by confusing politics with the rule of law. This is the docket entry resulting from Lembke's letter in case #26V010500459.
Case called. Petitioner appears by her Atty Thompson. Respondent appears by his Atty Clausen. GAL C. Allen appears. Court files letter to attorneys regarding letter received on December 12, 2007, from Representative James Lembke. Court allows all attorneys to address issue of recusal. Based upon the facts and case law, this Judge does not find that recusal is needed or warranted. Therefore, the Court does not intend to recuse and will proceed. However, both parties are offered an opportunity for a continuance to take this issue up with the Appellate Courts. Atty Thompson states that he needs opportunity to confer with his client. Hearing on all pending motions and any motions filed after this date is continued to January 23, 2008, at 9:00 a.m. Court orders both Petitioner and Respondent to appear personally with attorneys. Clerk to send notice of entry to parties. CH/js
Who wants a judiciary that gets micro-managed, told what to do and bossed around by politicians? Rep. Lembke does. No thanks, I'll take a judiciary that is fair and impartial, one that does not have to be subject to the whims of the crown, one that ensures the rule of law is enforced. I'll take the Missouri Nonpartisan Court Plan.