Recently, Missouri State Supreme Court Justice, Stephen Limbaugh, resigned to accept an appointment as a federal judge. This produces a vacancy on the Court to be appointed by Governor Blunt.
The September 7, 2008, St. Louis-Post-Dispatch reported that the judicial screening commission responsible for nominating candidates, has given Governor Blunt three nominees from which he must choose one by October 20. If he does not select one by that date, the screening commission will select one of the nominees for him.
It appears that the only Republican nominee has significantly less judicial experience than the other two who are identified as Democrats. The lone Republican, Mr. Zel Fischer, has only been a judge since 2006. One of the Democratic nominees has been a judge since 2000 and the other has been a judge since 1995.
A conservative organization called Better Courts for Missouri wants Blunt to demand a new list of candidate. A search of the Missouri Constitution and other authoritative documents doesn’t indicate that the governor has this prerogative. Thus, this is not a workable alternative.
The screening process for Missouri state Supreme Court judges should be reviewed. However, at this time Governor Blunt has no alternative but to complete his exhaustive review of the three nominees and appoint the best qualified.
(The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of St. Louis Public Radio.)
Lowe "Sandy" MacLean is vice chancellor emeritus, University of Missouri, St. Louis, and is active in local political and community organizations, including the Grand Order of Pachyderms (GOP), a service organization for the Republican Party.