Steve Tilley's low bar for judging accomplishments
The Kansas City Star
Critics of Missouri’s judiciary have finally secured a statewide vote aimed at changing the way judges are selected.
The House and Senate have both passed a constitutional amendment that would alter the makeup of a commission which screens candidates for the state appeals courts and Missouri Supreme Court and recommends three finalists to the governor.
The governor, who currently gets to appoint three members of the commission, would have four appointments under the proposed change. The Missouri Bar would have three appointments, as it does now. The commission would no longer include a Missouri Supreme Court judge.
The proposed amendment isn’t as bad as some of the measures that have been pitched, such as elected statewide judges. But it isn’t great, either. It gives the governor too much power to control the judiciary.
Supporters of the change have been hard-pressed to come up with anything Missouri’s Supreme Court and appeals court judges are doing wrong. Instead, they mutter about lawyers having too much power over the selection of lawyers.
After the House voted for the constitutional amendment today, House Speaker Steve Tilley called the moment “historic.”
“I would say this is certainly one of the marquee things we’ve done this year and probably one of the top we’ve done in the past seven or eight years,” he said.
Is that sad, or what? Voting to change a system that nobody thinks is broken is deemed to be one of the top achievements of the past seven or eight years.
The impetus for changing Missouri’s system of selecting judges has come from a couple of wealthy donors, who apparently are mad at the courts, and from outside groups, which basically don’t like judicial selection systems that can’t be manipulated by business interests and their friendly politicians. So, while a vote to put the changes on the ballot may not register with many voters, I guess it could be considered historic by those folks.
Given the legislature’s productivity, Tilley might actually be right. But for the Republican House speaker, an even bigger achievement is on the way. His bust of Rush Limbaugh is to be inducted soon in the Missouri Hall of Fame.