The Missouri Plan is under attack in the Missouri House. Here's a recent email from Rep. John Burnett:
House leaders closed debate with Reps lined up to talk
After a brief debate House leaders closed debated by moving the "previous question". I was left standing at the microphone with a proposed amendment in my hand unable to get recognized to offer it. My friends consoled me that it was something I should be proud of. The Majority clearly did not want to hear what I had to say.
By a vote of 80-63 the House gave first round approval to the resolution. All 11 Democrat Lawyers in the House voted against it. Burnett, Bringer, Donnelly, Grill, Jeff Harris, Connie Johnson, Rachel Storch, Mike Talboy, Mike Vogt, Terry Witte and Jake Zimmerman.
On the Republican side only Flook, Pratt and Lipke opposed it. Stanley Cox (R-Sedalia) was the sponsor and handled the bill on the floor. Judiciary Chair, Bryan Stevenson (R-Jasper) gave a speech that some thought was hilarious talking about how he loved all judges, young or old and in fact hopes to be a judge himself someday soon. Then he joined Cox, Bob Onder (R-Lake St. Louis), and Tim Jones (R-Eureka) in supporting it.
Final approval in the House requites 82 votes but it appears that they will be there. Will keep you posted on the vote there too.
State Rep John P. Burnett
Here's the letter I sent to Rep. Bryan Stevenson (R - Joplin):
As a lawyer to a fellow lawyer, I would urge you to reconsider your vote on HJR 49..
Missouri is a swing state – it is currently held by Republicans and will one day be held by Democrats. That’s a good thing. The Missouri Supreme Court and our Courts of Appeals should not be subject to those same swings. We tell our children in civics classes that judges are fair, neutral and that they don’t play flavors. By abandoning the Missouri Plan in favor of a system more like the federal government, we are inviting partisan games to be played with our judiciary. While I’m a Democrat, I believe that the entire Supreme Court appointed by then Gov. Ashcroft was a good one. What was wrong with the Missouri Plan when it gave us Judge Holstein or Judge Price? Our system worked then and works now. Let’s be proud of a neutral judiciary that is hard to be influenced by politics – either Democrats or Republicans. Please join your Republican lawyer colleagues Pratt, Flook and Libke in voting NO on HJR 49.
Please give me a call if you have any questions
What do we tell our kids - well, we shut off debate because we don't care what other people think and we want judges who will always decide with our side instead of being fair and neutral. Can't the Republicans see that eventually this will back fire and some liberal governor will appoint incredibly liberal judges?