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.
“Inappropriate” bonus payments to university employees — totaling over $2 million — were sometimes marked as incentives but had no specific criteria, according to the Missouri state auditor in a report released Monday.
Funds were also dispersed for luxury vehicle allowances, even though a mileage reimbursement system might have been more efficient.
The University of Missouri has a long history of protests.
In 2015, a group of students under the banner of “Concerned Student 1950” camped out on the Carnahan Quadrangle to protest racism at the school’s flagship Columbia campus, confronting what they saw as an inappropriate silence from university officials.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Information for this story was gathered from interviews conducted throughout the Missouri General Assembly’s 2016 legislative session, which ran from January to mid-May.
JEFFERSON CITY — Zachary Wyatt-Gomez, 31, a former Missouri representative and openly gay Republican, is an ideological harbinger—a man whose own life story mirrors the morphing philosophy of his seemingly fractured party.
But Wyatt’s experience also highlights a growing divide within the GOP, an uneasy coalition straining to establish some form of consensus between its business-minded and socially conservative wings.
It’s a divide that served as tinder for this spring’s religious liberty showdown in the Missouri General Assembly.
Senate Joint Resolution 39, a Republican-sponsored religious liberty constitutional amendment, was first presented as a way to protect the socially conservative beliefs and practices of ordinary citizens from overbearing government oversight.
Opponents argued the resolution would legalize discrimination.
Specifically, SJR 39 would have allowed some wedding-related businesses to refuse service to same-sex couples based on a “sincere religious belief.”
Malfunctioning motor triggers fire at Lincoln University
Dawson Hall – tallest building on Lincoln University’s Jefferson City campus – caught fire Friday. After evacuation and a brief investigation, a malfunctioning air conditioning motor was found to blame.
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon traveled to Columbia for a question and answer session with local students Friday afternoon.
Following the event at Rock Bridge High School, Nixon held a press conference where he explained his opposition to Senate Bill 586. He claims the bill, which has already passed through the Republican-controlled state Senate, will place an undue burden on local taxpayers by cutting state funding for public schools.
As of Friday, SB 586 had passed through two committees in the House of Representatives and was scheduled for further action before the full House.
Read the Missourian’s coverage of the student event here, as well as KOMU’s report of Nixon’s opposition to SB 586 here.