Tuesday, March 18, 2008

GUEST EDITORIAL - Blunt Punt

Regular readers have probably noticed some sharp exchanges between "Whistleblower" and me. We both have strong opinions about judicial selection, and those opinions differ on the merits of the Missouri Plan.

The first principal for both of us, though, is that we want a great judiciary, and that's why I'm thrilled that he sent the following editorial to me for publication. Read, react, and call Governor Blunt and tell him to do his job.

Without further adieu, here is Jim Byrne, a/k/a "Whistleblower":
The Blunt Punt

On Friday, December 14th 2007, Governor Blunt appointed Judge Joseph Dandurand to the Western District Court of Appeals. Judge Dandurand left an already overburdened docket in Missouri’s 17th Circuit. However, in the nearly ninety days since, the Governor has failed to appoint a successor. The word on the street is that the Governor does not intend to appoint a replacement, at least not within a reasonable period of time. (If waiting until after an election, even a primary, was an acceptable delay, that is what the voters would have mandated.)

The caseload in Johnson and Cass Counties continues to increase. (The 17th is a two county circuit.) Court dates are set at almost six months in the future.

The Governor’s Office has interviewed a number of qualified applicants for appointment, however, prior to the interviews; the Governor never indicated that he would delay appointment.

Governor Blunt has put the lives of the litigants, and of those with a desire to fill the seat left by Judge Dandurand, on hold. While efforts in the courts are aimed at decreasing the time to complete cases, the Governor seems to be promoting the opposite. The qualified candidates that interviewed with the Governor’s Office have also been forced to place their lives on hold. A lawyer does not want to acquire new clients with the intent of not representing them.

In Missouri, we have just enough judges to get the job done. When a position becomes available, the Governor has a duty, and a responsibility to his constituents, to fill that position in a timely manner. The citizens of Missouri granted the Governor the authority to make these appointments, rather than wait for elections, because of the need for timely replacements to an empty seat on the bench. It’s time to turn up the heat. As e-mails to constituent services are notoriously ignored, I recommend a phone call to the Governor’s Office at (573) 751-3222.

Remind the Governor that even though he has decided that he has “achieved virtually everything that [he] set out to accomplish and more”, and therefore, decided not to run for a second term, he should continue to do his job in the interest of the citizens of Missouri, or resign, and let someone that is willing to do the job take his place. As governor of our state, he is charged with protecting and acting in the best interests of the citizens of Missouri. Clearly, it is not in the best interests of our state when the governor ignores his duty.
If you had claimed that I would be favorably publishing a post by Whistleblower, I would have thought you were anticipating an April Fool's joke, but what's right is right, and Whistleblower is absolutely right about this.

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5 Comments:

Blogger whistleblower said...

Thanks Dan!

I appreciate your help on this topic. I'm sure the people of Cass and Johnson Counties do too.

3/18/2008 10:26 AM  
Blogger craig said...

Well done Dan. I don't know enough about the judiciary selection to make an intelligent comment. But, I have seen you rip into whistleblower pretty bad on this blog before. It does take a lot for you to disagree with a person on the path, but agree on the destination.
Maybe that face to face with Koster really did do something for you. You seem to be a lot less "snarky" these days.

3/19/2008 9:15 PM  
Anonymous Conspiracy Theory said...

Isn't Dandurand best friends with Koster?

Dandurand was making it publicly known that he was going to run for Koster's seat. Dandurand had been elected in Cass County several times, so he would be a lay up for the Senate. That means the Democrats could easily keep Koster's seat.

Blunt, just like he appointed Gunn over in St. Louis to the PSC, is not afraid to give a Democrat a job to keep the legislature in the hands of the Republicans. So, despite previously passing over Dandurand several times for the Court of Appeals, Blunt was happy to appoint him this time.

If Blunt is waiting to appoint this vacancy in the 17th Circuit, then there is something sneaking going on.

p.s. - it ain't Dan who is sounding sane, its Whistleblower who has found that logic and thoughtfulness is a good way to get people to understand an issue.

3/20/2008 9:15 AM  
Blogger sophia said...

Local lawyer gossip supports the notion that Dandurand was appointed to keep him from running for Koster's seat. For what that's worth. ;)

3/20/2008 9:25 AM  
Anonymous Whistleblowme said...

Even I have to admit this is a worthwhile call to action by Whistleblower. Has anyone else called the gov?

3/20/2008 9:31 AM  

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