Missouri’s most notable claim-to-fame in modern legal philosophy is often overlooked.
The state’s constitutionally guaranteed system of merit-based judicial selection — the “Missouri Plan,” as it’s often called — marked a seismic shift in the process of court appointment, one that swept the nation in a grand revision of how we populate many of our appellate and high courts.
By forgoing popular alternatives of direct election and nomination-confirmation of state judges, Missouri ushered in a new “nonpartisan” era of judicial selection.
After the Plan’s initial adoption in the mid-1900s, dozens of states followed, creating merit-based systems of their own. Newly democratic nations across Europe and South America drew inspiration from the Plan in writing their own constitutions, as did even a few established democracies during historic reformation votes.
And Missouri started it all.
What follows is a brief overview of the philosophy and origins of the Missouri Plan, a lightly edited excerpt taken from my undergraduate thesis work at the University of Missouri.
After a Democratic filibuster of Neil Gorsuch, Congressional Republicans have exercised the “nuclear option,” dismantling the requirement of a 60-vote cloture movement before voting on Supreme Court nominees. Gorsuch can be confirmed with a mere 51 supporting senators, an up-or-down vote scheduled for Friday.
In the televised debate, held Monday afternoon, five leading candidates discuss politics and policy ahead of the first round of voting on Sunday, April 23. Assuming no candidate passes 50 percent, the top two vote getters will proceed to a direct run-off on Sunday, May 7, where the winner will assume the presidency.
The five candidates, in current polling order:
Marine Le Pen, far-right populist
Emmanuel Macron, centrist EU supporter
François Fillon, center-right former prime minister
Benoît Hamon, left-wing socialist
Jean-Luc Mélenchon, far-left member of the European Parliament
Watch the entire video if you dare — longer than its American counterparts, the debate clocks in at a healthy three hours and 18 minutes.