In the ongoing media coverage of the process for evaluating and selecting the three judicial candidates for the vacancy on the Supreme Court of Missouri, about half of all media reports are repeating incorrect details about how the lawyer members of the Appellate Judicial Commission attained their position on the Commission. Many media reports say incorrectly that The Missouri Bar "appoints" the three lawyer members of the Commission. Actually, each of the lawyer members is elected by other lawyers from the Missouri Court of Appeals district in which they reside.
It may sound as if there is not much difference between appointment and election, but the difference is significant in the current political climate. Saying the lawyers were appointed gives the impression that The Missouri Bar controls who is on the Commission to provide a lawyer's perspective on the candidates. Relaying the factual information that the lawyers are elected by other lawyers conveys the actual arrangement, one in which individual lawyers -- not the organized bar -- choose the lawyers on the Commission.
Jack Wax, media relations director
The Missouri Bar
Editor's note: According to a release from Holly Foster from the governor's office, "In Missouri, the governor does not appoint a judge to the Supreme Court from citizens at large. Instead an Appellate Judicial Commission, made up of the presiding chief justice, three lawyers chosen by the Missouri Bar and three people appointed by governors, selects a panel of three candidates. Gov. Blunt has appointed only one of the three commissioners, and the others were appointed by former Gov. Bob Holden. The governor has 60 days to appoint one of the three nominated candidates to the Supreme Court.