Stith Defends secrecy in selecting Supreme Court Judges
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Stith Defends secrecy in selecting Supreme Court Judges

Date: September 11, 2007
By: Courtney Cox
State Capitol Bureau

Intro: Missouri's Chief Justice defended the confidentiality in selecting Missouri Supreme Court judges Tuesday afternoon. Courtney Cox has more from the State Capitol.

The Senate Rules Committee met this afternoon to question secrecy involved in selecting nominees to fill Supreme Court vacancies.

Under fire was Chair for the Appellate Judicial Commission, Chief Justice Laura Stith.

Stith defended why her commission doesn't publish the as list of nominees.


Actuality:  STITH4.WAV
Run Time: 00:09
Description: "The reason for not publicizing the information is because we want to encourage the largest pool of applicants each time. People want to be assured that the information won't get out." 

Rules Committee Chairman Charlie Shields said that releasing the names of judges would give the public more voice in selecting the judges.

Most recently, Patricia Breckenridge was appointed to the Missouri Supreme Court under the scrutinized Missouri Plan.

Reporting from the state capitol, I'm Courtney Cox.

Intro: The Senate Rules Committee met Tuesday afternoon to exam the confidentiality in selecting judges to Missouri's Supreme Court. Courtney Cox has more from the capitol.

The secrecy of Missouri Supreme Court justice selection was challenged Tuesday as the Senate Rules Committee questioned Chair of the Appellate Judicial Commission, Laura Stith.

The Commission has recently been under fire for refusing to release the list of candidates to fill the Supreme Court vacancy.

Stith defended the action, comparing it to other job selection measures.

Actuality:  STITH2.WAV
Run Time: 00:19
Description: "Think back to when you last selected a new preacher for your church or superintendent for your school, or even the last time you applied for a job outside the legislature. The preliminary phases of such searches for new personnel are conducted in confidence. And it is important that they stay confidential, for in that way, the broadest group of qualified applicants can be considered."  

Rules Committee Chair Charlie Shields questioned the confidentiality of the Commission, saying that an open list would provide more voice for the public.

Patricia Breckenridge was announced last Friday to be the latest addition to Missouri's Supreme Court. The secrecy involved in her selection encouraged this meeting.

From the state capitol, I'm Courtney Cox

OutCue: SOC