Blunt names two to judicial screening panels

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. | Two opponents of Missouri's "nonpartisan" method of appointing some judges will serve on panels that play a crucial role in those appointments.

Sally Hargis has been chosen by Gov. Matt Blunt to serve on a five-member commission that will screen applicants for Greene County Circuit Court seats and nominate finalists to the governor's office.

John Gentry, also of Springfield, was picked by Blunt for a seven-member commission that nominates candidates for the Missouri Court of Appeals and the Missouri Supreme Court.

The panel appointments were announced Friday.

Like Blunt, who is also from Springfield, Hargis and Gentry are strong critics of the Missouri Nonpartisan Court Plan — the state's widely copied process for selecting judges for appellate courts and some trial courts.