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Where Are The Checks And Balances For Missouri Judiciary?

April 16, 2011

The Missouri Supreme Court is charged, by statute, to revise and implement standards governing guardians ad litem in our state. The legislature is charged with approving those standards, but the court has not released them to the legislature for review. The Senate has passed SB 237 which approves the standards and now the House addresses the bill. No one seems to have a problem with voting on standards, sight unseen. And the Supreme Court sees nothing amiss with operating under the cover of darkness and out of the public purview.

Bob McCarty contacted the Supreme Court and asked pertinent questions as to the procedures and processes relating to SB237 and guardians ad litem. Here is what he found out, or didn’t find out.

So, the events, or lack of them, relating to the progression of this process, to approve SB237 inspires many questions, not the least of which is why is the development of standards that govern the procedure and conduct of guardians ad litem something the courts feel needs to be held in confidence, away from public scrutiny until after they are enacted into law? Why are legislators going along with the game plan to vote into law, standards sight unseen, and not insisting reviewing them first? If lawmakers are not scrutinizing the courts and their process, where are the checks and balances for the judiciary? How does this ensure the best interests of children maintained in the courts of Missouri?

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