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Thursday, October 11, 2007


Without the controversy that accompanied his recent appointment to the Supreme Court, Gov. Matt Blunt on Oct. 10 announced his choices for two of the five current vacancies on the Missouri Court of Appeals. Blunt picked Clay County Circuit Judge James Welsh for a spot on the court’s Kansas City-based Western District and selected former St. Louis County Councilman Kurt Odenwald for an opening on the Eastern District bench in St. Louis.

The governor must make appointments to the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals from lists of finalists submitted by the Appellate Judicial Commission. In filling a Supreme Court vacancy recently, Blunt demanded that the three finalists fill out detailed 111-question surveys, which he then made public.

Critics of the governor’s handling of the appointment process said the surveys, which required extensive requests for documentations, were designed to harass and embarrass the finalists. The Court of Appeals candidates were not subjected to the same treatment.

Two vacancies remain on the Western District, with another spot currently open on the Southern District in Springfield. The judicial commission has yet to announce finalists for those posts.

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