© 2023 St. Louis Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Blunt, opponents of Missouri judicial-selection system weigh in on Stevens retirement

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 9, 2010 - Missouri conservatives were swift to weigh in on today's announcement by U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens that he is retiring later this year, and to make the expected call for President Barack Obama to nominate a less-liberal replacement.

U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt, R-Springfield, and a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, said that the president faces " a unique opportunity at a time when government is growing too quickly and we're seeing the erosion of the core values that made America great.

"I encourage the president to take seriously the obligation of the Supreme Court to interpret the Constitution without legislating from the bench. President Obama should nominate a jurist who will interpret our laws strictly, rather than writing new law from the highest court in the land."

Blunt has said that if he had been in the Senate last year, he would have opposed the confirmation of now-Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

Meanwhile, Better Courts for Missouri -- the group leading the fight to overhaul Missouri's judicial-selection system -- is comparing how the process would be handled in Missouri, to the federal system.

The president nominates a replacement to the U.S. Supreme Court, who is then approved or rejected by the U.S. Senate. In Missouri, a judicial-selection panel chooses three possible nominees to the state Supreme Court, with the governor then choosing one of them.

Better Courts' executive director James Harris said, "Better Courts for Missouri anxiously awaits press releases from Missouri’s legal organizations arguing that the Missouri Plan is superior to the plan designed by James Madison and Alexander Hamilton which will be used by President Obama to replace Justice Stevens."

"Of course, I know that is not going to happen," Harris added. "Legal industry interests only care to argue about judicial selection in Missouri because the Missouri Plan allows them to continue to dominate the process."

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.