Don't feel too sorry for discouraged Missouri conservatives
The Kansas City Star
The folks who wanted changes in Missouri’s method of selecting judges have decided they won’t campaign for their ballot proposition, saying the ballot language written by Secretary of State Robin Carnahan is “deceptive and hopelessly biased.”
But here’s the thing. State legislators had the opportunity to write the ballot language when they voted to put the proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot for voter approval. They declined to do so, and left the job up to Carnahan, a Democratic official who naturally may not view things quite the same way as the Republican majority in the legislature.
In Carnahan’s defense, she had a maximum of 50 words to sum up the changes the legislature wanted in the makeup of a judicial nominating commission. She chose to focus on the provisions that allow the governor to “appoint a majority of the commission that selects these court nominees; and appoint all lawyers to the commission by removing the requirement that the governor’s appointees be nonlawyers.”
The governor doesn’t have to appoint all lawyers, and there’s no reason to think that would happen. But the legislation opens up the possibility, and that’s what Carnahan zeroed in on. The proposed constitutional amendment will remain on the ballot, and I would expect that the Missouri Bar and other opponents will continue to mount some kind of an informational campaign to try to get it defeated.
I’d also expect that, whatever happens in November, Republicans will continue to press for changes in Missouri’s judicial selection process. It works excellently but presents a burr in the saddle of conservatives.