Boone County Bar Association: Majority of lawyers oppose Amendment 3

Oct 22, 2012

A ballot measure that would change the way judges are selected for the Missouri Supreme Court and Appellate Courts is drawing criticism. Speaking to a gathering of Democrats at the Columbia Country Club Friday, the head of the Boone County Bar Association says the vast majority of lawyers oppose the measure.

Steve Scott is the President of the Boone County Bar Association. Scott warned that adoption of Amendment 3 would politicize the selection of judges in the state. He said the current system, while not perfect, is better than what the measure proposes.

“The process is already somewhat political but I think this, this is really an effort to inject a great deal more politics into the process of selecting judges," Scott said.

The Amendment would change the composition of the committee that currently recommends judges to the governor. If approved, the Measure would allow the governor to appoint a majority of members to  the commission. He would also be able to appoint lawyers to the commission for the first time.

Supporters of the Amendment say it would make the appointment of judges more democratic.  But critics say the selection of judges would be influenced by big campaign contributors and not based on merit.

Backers of the Amendment lost a lawsuit over way the measure is worded on the ballot. As a result, they feel the measure is unlikely to succeed and say they are dropping a traditional campaign to support it. They say they will look for other ways to change the system in the future.