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State of Missouri

History of Reform Efforts: Missouri

Formal Changes Since Inception

1820
All judges appointed for life by the governor with senate consent.

1849
Supreme court and circuit court judges elected by the people to six-year terms.

1872
Terms of supreme court judges extended to twelve years.

1875
St. Louis Court of Appeals created by constitutional amendment. Judges elected by the people to twelve- year terms.

1884
Kansas City Court of Appeals created by constitutional amendment. Judges elected by the people to twelve-year terms.

1909
Springfield Court of Appeals created by constitutional amendment. Judges elected by the people to twelve- year terms.

1940
The Nonpartisan Selection of Judges Court Plan was approved by the voters, 55% to 45%. The measure had been placed on the ballot through an initiative petition. The plan called for judges of the supreme court, courts of appeals, and circuit and probate courts in the city of St. Louis and in Jackson County (Kansas City) to be nominated by the governor from a list of three persons submitted by a judicial nominating commission. Judges would stand for retention in the first general election after twelve months in office.

1942
Following the approval of the Nonpartisan Court Plan amendment in 1940, legislators voted by a one-vote margin to repeal the amendment. In 1942, the repeal was put to the voters, who rejected it by a margin of 65% to 35%.

1945
The Nonpartisan Court Plan was included in the new state constitution.

1970
Voters extended the Nonpartisan Court Plan to judges in St. Louis County.

1973
Voters extended the Nonpartisan Court Plan to judges in Clay County and Platte County.

1976
The judicial article was amended but the Nonpartisan Court Plan was left intact. The most significant aspect of the amendment was that the judicial nominating commission was empowered to fill the vacancy if the governor did not select a nominee within 60 days. The 1976 amendment also reflected the 1970 and 1973 changes.

2008
Voters extended the Nonpartisan Court Plan to judges in Greene County.