The Grassfire nuts (link intentionally omitted) hit me with their latest BACN today. This time they’ve decided to insert themselves into our state politics, slamming Governor Matt Blunt for upholding the rule of law.
For background, Missouri has a nonpartisan plan for appointing judges that was adopted at the time of the Pendergast political machine’s reign in Kansas City to stem some of the partisan corruption. It’s actually been adopted by over 30 other states since Missouri first enacted it and it’s known as The Missouri Plan. Under The Missouri Plan, Supreme Court vacancies are filled by the Governor selecting one of three nominees sent to him by a commission of three lawyers elected by the lawyers of The Missouri Bar, three citizens selected by the governor, and the chief justice of the Missouri Supreme Court, who serves as chair. Here’s the key point. If the Governor doesn’t choose one, the choice goes back to the commission.
Unfortunately because of the appointment process and the presence of the chief justice, the process has become thoroughly dominated by the Missouri Bar, to an extent comparable in many ways to the Pendergast machine’s control in the 30s.
There is a vacancy on the Supreme Court and the three nominees sent to Blunt, from a conservative point of view, ranged from bad to awful; Souteresqe to Bader-Ginsburgery.
According to the Wall Street Journal:
From a list of some 30 applicants, the commission offered Mr. Blunt three nominees. One, Nannette Baker, is a former TV reporter who practiced law for three years before taking her current seat on the bench. Her inclusion allows the commission to take credit for proposing an African American to fill a seat being vacated by an African American. Yet the original list of 30 had other, more impressive black candidates, including Appellate Judge Lisa Hardwick, who had apparently not been deferential enough to the bar association.
The second option is Ron Holliger, a trial lawyer known for personal injury and product liability suits. He’s the choice of those lawyers who hope to preserve a permissive judicial environment. Behind door No. 3 is the nominally “conservative” option, Judge Patricia Breckenridge. [Show Me the Judges Wall Street Journal, August 30, 2007; Page A10]
Blunt took the unusual, but still legal, step of asking the candidates to fill out his own questionaire. So far so good. Remember, if he doesn’t choose one, the choice goes back to the commission that gave him the poor choices in the first place and any semblance of damage control is gone. Apparently at some point in the last day or so, he’s settled on appointing Breckenridge.
Enter the Grassfire nuts. Not content to bash the President for doing exactly what they ask of him, they’ve now decided to insinuate themselves in Missouri politics and declare that Governor Blunt “has made it clear he is not a conservative Republican.” This is the Governor Blunt who came into office promising a balanced budget with no tax increases and delivered. The Governor Blunt who actually cut some taxes at a time when Democrats were, of course, calling for tax increases. The Governor Blunt who privatized the motor vehicle licensing offices. But, because he follows the law, and tries to control the damage, he’s “not a conservative Republican.”
Grassfire needs to limit itself to doing what it said it was founded for, what it used to get my email address in the first place – defending those two Border Patrol agents who were imprisoned for doing their jobs. They need to stop attacking the President for doing what they asked of him and they need to stop insinuating themselves in local politics where they have neither knowledge nor business.