The so-called Missouri plan for choosing judges has become so troublesome that several states are now altering or abandoning it. In Pennsylvania, however, three former Governors are getting on board with an effort to impose it for state appellate and Supreme Court judges.
On a conference call in March with the George Soros-funded Justice at Stake, former Governors Ed Rendell, Tom Ridge and Dick Thornburgh said they want judicial selection taken away from voters and given to a judicial nominating commission. The state’s current system of judicial elections, Mr. Ridge said, “casts a dark shadow, a heavy cloud over the integrity and independence of the judicial system.”
This is especially awkward for Republicans Thornburgh and Ridge, who are embracing a plan that has regularly sent state courts to the left. While the Missouri Plan was created with the hopes of insulating judges from politics, and travels under the false front of “merit selection,” it has instead transferred power to state bar associations while shielding the selection process from public scrutiny.