Several judges will appear on the ballots on November 8. We The People of Missouri are sharing the following recommendations regarding judges to be used as a guide. This is not intended to tell you how to vote. Every citizen is encouraged to research for themselves and vote accordingly. Please read the ENTIRE blog.
Zel Fischer — Yes — Missouri Supreme Court
“Fischer is a frequent Lecturer to judges and lawyers regarding the intersection of science and the law as well as constitutional issues and professional ethics. He is also actively involved in presenting constitutional forums at high schools, colleges and universities, where he impresses upon the students the prominent importance of protecting the rights guaranteed by the Constitution.”
Link to the article: https://news.mobar.org/judge-zel-m-fischer-to-be-honored-by-the-missouri-bar/
Robin Ransom — Yes — Missouri Supreme Court – (though other conservative researchers have come to a different conclusion)
During her interviews for the open Supreme Court seat, Ransom was one of the few applicants who described herself as a ”strict constitutionalist”, meaning she interprets the law as: ”it is what it is and says what it says.”
“I always say — and I think I said it in the interview — I’ve never been creative with what I think the law means,” Ransomm said in an exclusive interview with The Missouri Times. ”There are laws with outcomes you’re going to like and there are laws and procedures that have outcomes that you personally don’t like. But that part is not what the judicial system and job are about; it’s about doing what the law says, and it’s not the popular decision all the time.”
“The Law is not to be manipulated and bent and twisted to meet the outcome that I want. If the interpretation can be different, that’s one thing. But getting creative with it is something else,, and that’s just not something I’m willing to do.”
Link to interview here: https://themissouritimes.com/ransom-parsons-strict-constructionist-pick-for-missouri-supreme-court-sworn-in/
Don Burnell — Yes — Missouri Court of Appeals – Southern District
He set up the successful teen court in Greene County, and after reading several cases and decisions he seems fair and honests
Jack Goodman — Yes – Missouri Court of Appeals – Southern Disctrict
Jack Goodman (born September 9, 1973) was a Republican member of the Missouri Senate, representing the 29th District between 2005 and 2012. He is currently a Circuit Judge for the 39th Judicial Circuit, which consists of Stone, Barry, and Lawrence Counties.
Margaret Palmietto — No — Associate Circuit Cujdge – 31st Judicial Circuit/Div 22
She was married to Judge Calvin Holden, brother of Democrat Governor Bob Holden, and was appointed by Gov. Jay Nixon.
Mark A Powell — No — Associate Circuit Judge – 31st Judicial Circuit/Div 24
It took a lot of digging, but I found enough to vote no besides being appointed by Jay Nixon. Here is his application: https://www.courts.mo.gov/file/Mark%20Powell%20-%20application.pdf
T. Todd Myers — Yes — Associate Circuit Judge – 31st Judicial Circuit/Div 25
Link to Springfield Business Journal Interview: https://www.sbj.net/stories/a-conversation-with-todd-myers,67690
It is important to understand that few of these judges actually abide by their oath to advise by and rule according to our constitution.
Example: Powell, who is supposed to be the most conservative judge in this area, was the judge who confiscated firearms from someone who was only exercising their right to carry.
It IS an option to vote no, recognizing that the replacement judge may be worse (or better) than the one being removed. Voting NO also has potential to send a loud message, however, it is not without risk.
Information on the process: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missouri_Plan
Below is a statement from Bev Ehlen, President of Missouri Concerned Women of America, regarding certain judges as well as the ’Missouri Plan”.
“In 1940, voters in Missouri adopted the Missouri Nonpartisan Judicial Selection Amendment.
The judges for the Missouri Supreme Court, each of the three appellate courts-and the circuit courts in Clay, Greene, Jackson, Platte, and St. Louis Counties, and the city of St. Louis are presently under the “Missouri Plan.” When vacancies occur in any of the circuit courts, the governor appoints an individual to fill the position. However, it’s not as simple as that. There are commissions made up of the chief judge of the region’s Court of Appeals and four residents of the circuit’s district (two lawyers are elected by The Missouri Bar and two non-lawyers are appointed by the governor).
The commission that selects names for any vacancy in the appellate courts and the Missouri Supreme Court is made up of seven people: the chief justice of the Missouri Supreme Court, three lawyers (one from each appellate court district) elected by the Missouri Bar, and three non-lawyers appointed by the governor (staggered terms).
The commission submits a panel of three names to the governor. The governor has 60 days to make a selection. If the governor doesn’t make a decision within that time, the commission selects the person from that panel to fill the vacancy.
Those who were promoting the “Missouri Plan” assured the people that they would still be able to “weigh in” on a judge by voting on their retention – the first general election
after the judge has been appointed and then every twelve years after that.
When it comes to preparing to vote on a retention, one can check to see which governor appointed the judge however, one has to remember that it is really the
commission that does most of the choosing – at least the three names from which the governor chooses to appoint. It is really hard to know much about a certain judge unless there is some specific case that stands out as either good or bad. One can check their “bio” to see the personal information regarding the judge. The Front Line publication produced by the Constitutional Coalition is a good source of bios and any information that is known about judges up for retention. http://constitutionalcoalition.org/category/front-line/.
I use every election cycle to educate more Missourians regarding the Missouri Plan and how it limits the choices of individuals to be appointed as judge in the above mentioned six counties, appellate courts, and Missouri Supreme Court. The more Missourians
understand the Missouri “Non Partisan” Court Plan, the more they will be willing to change it.
For November 2022, I will be voting no on the retention of Zel Fischer to the Missouri Supreme Court. While Judge Fischer is pretty much the only conservative judge left on the Missouri Supreme Court, he did vote with the other six judges to force the Missouri General Assembly (MOGA) to expand Medicaid. I will be voting no on his retention. The
same regarding Robin Ransome. This is her first retention vote since being appointed to the Missouri Supreme Court by Gov. Mike Parson. Many of the favorable comments regarding her appointment referred to the fact that she is the first black female appointed to the court.
A few other judges I believe deserves a “no” vote on retention are:
Karen King Mitchell, Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District.
J. Dale Youngs, Circuit Judge, 16 Judicial Circuit, Jackson County, Div. 6
Jennifer M. Phillips, Circuit Judge, 16 Judicial Circuit, Jackson County, Div. 12
Kea S. Bird-Riley, Circuit Judge, 16 Judicial Circuit, Jackson County, Div. 27
Joseph L Green, Associate Circuit Judge, 21st Judicial Circuit St. Louis County, Division 36
Ellen W. Dunn, Associate Circuit Judge, 21st Judicial Circuit St. Louis County, Division 39 David C. Mason, Associate Circuit Judge, 22nd Judicial Circuit St. Louis, Division 17
Jerry A. Harmison, Jr., Associate Circuit Judge, 31st Judicial Circuit, Greene County, Division 21
Since the implementation of the Missouri Court Plan only four judges have not been retained.”
— We The People of Missouri are NOT endorsing these judges. We are making the best judgement we can with the information available to us at this time.