Missouri Policy Journal


Since its admission to the union in 1821, Missouri has been a microcosm of the national developments and debates that surround the issue of judicial selection. Missouri was the first state to use all three of the most common methods of judicial selection—political appointments, contested elections, and merit selection.1 Because of the state’s experience, the history of judicial selection and the controversies surrounding judicial selection in Missouri provide insight into broader national trends. This article explores the history of judicial selection and the controversies over the various selection methods in the state of Missouri, with an emphasis on the debate that has taken place in the state over the past decade. The article also explains why this issue is relevant to public policy in Missouri. Finally, it provides a snapshot of current opinions on the various judicial selection methods through a survey of community college students.