Panel approves requiring open meeting to pick judge nominees

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Committees that weed out who the governor can pick for judgeships would need to hold open meetings under legislation endorsed by a House committee.

Names of applicants would be open too.

It's part of a proposed constitutional amendment to overhaul the process for picking state judges. If approved by lawmakers, it would go on the ballot.

Judges for the state Supreme Court, three appeals courts and trial courts in the Kansas City and St. Louis areas are nominated by secretive selection committees. The governor selects from the three nominees picked by the panels.

Critics of that have grown increasingly vocal.

The proposed amendment changes the panels' membership so there are more non-lawyers and no judges.

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