O'Connor defends Missouri judicial selection plan

COLUMBIA | Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor defends Missouri's judicial selection plan in a speech Friday at the University of Missouri law school.

O'Connor told a group of students, professors, attorneys and judges that the role money plays in states with partisan judicial elections has risen to "obscene levels."

Judges on the state Supreme Court, other state appeals courts and some urban trial courts are appointed by the Missouri governor. A special nominating commission selects three finalists for the governor's consideration.

Some Republican state lawmakers and conservative critics of the plan want to change Missouri's judicial selection process. Efforts to add a state constitutional amendment regarding judicial selection failed last year.