Missouri Chief Justice is 'willing to listen to the people'

The Madison County Record Oct. 10, 2010, 9:12am

"These are significant and meaningful changes. They show the court's willingness to listen to the people of Missouri."

That's what Missouri Chief Justice William Ray Price Jr. said when he unveiled his plan to make the state's judicial selection process more transparent.

The court's "willingness" to listen to the people is an arrogant formulation, ripe with pomposity.

How well it captures the speaker's self-satisfied air of magnanimity and noblesse oblige. Yes, a truly refined and superior being such as himself is deigning to consider the confused, illogical opinions of the less superior masses of Missouri, and they should be grateful for his condescension.

Judge Price has come down from Mt. Olympus to reveal some of the secret inner workings of the state's mysterious ritual for anointing judges, and to give us mere mortals a vague acknowledgement that we have some microscopic say in it.

The patrician Price has his work cut out for him. Perhaps in his view the earthlings in Missouri are beginning to clamor for elections and need to be silenced quickly before this troublesome democratic spirit becomes a tea party.

What would happen if the people elected their own judges? While the question seems to be too frightful to consider by Price, it sounds quite democratic to us.

Those of the chosen meritocracy don't like the idea of us "rubes" packing into the polls to pick our own judges. These chosen jurists don't want to be pandering to us "peons," prior to elections.

Ordinary people with bourgeois lifestyles and pedestrian tastes permitted to pass judgment on judges? Never. Citizens of Missouri coming to believe that high and mighty magistrates are beholden to the public? How positively undignified!

No, we can't have that. If the lives and fates of Missourians are to be entrusted to judges of William Ray Price's rare quality, the selection process must remain in the hands of special commissions whose elite members can be counted on to recommend only the "proper" candidates for anointment.

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