Ardini sworn in as judge, calls for protection of Missouri Nonpartisan Court Plan

   

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Edward R. (Ted) Ardini Jr. is now officially a judge on the Missouri Court of Appeals’ Western District.

Ardini was sworn in Thursday afternoon, filling the vacancy left of the appellate court following the retirement of the Honorable Joseph M. Ellis.

A longtime aide to Gov. Jay Nixon, Ardini had served as counsel to the governor since January 2009. He served in a similar role during Nixon’s time as attorney general. Ardini began working at the Attorney General’s Office in 1992 after graduating from the New England School of Law in his home state of Massachusetts.

In 2014, Ardini received the Patrick Henry Award from the National Guard Association of the United States, which is given to civilians in a position of responsibility who have distinguished themselves with outstanding and exceptional service to the U.S. Armed Forces or the National Guard.

“There are few people who possess as keen of an understanding of the executive, judicial and legislative branches of Missouri state government and of Missouri civil and criminal law as Ted Ardini,” Gov. Nixon said after selecting Ardini for the vacancy. “He will be an outstanding appellate judge, and I am pleased to select him from the well-qualified panel presented to me.”

Ardini was one of three nominees for this judgeship submitted to Gov. Nixon by the Appellate Judicial Commission for the Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District, under the Missouri Nonpartisan Court Plan.

During his speech at Thursday’s investiture ceremony, Ardini talked about protecting and expanding the Missouri Nonpartisan Court Plan, or the Missouri Plan as it is often called.

The Missouri Plan is a method used for the selection of judges.

Under the plan, judges who serve are nominated by a judicial commission and then selected by the governor. After their first 12 months on the bench, voters decide whether to retain them in a retention election. To keep their seat, each judge must receive a majority vote. If they don’t, his or her judicial seat will become vacant at the end of its present term, at which point the process begins again.

Appellate court judges serve for 12 years. As for trial judges, those on the circuit serve six-year terms, while associate circuit judges serve four-year terms.

The Missouri Plan originated in the Show Me State in 1940 and has been adopted or served as a model for 34 states.

Benjamin Peters is a reporter for the Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine, and also produces the #MoLeg Podcast. He joined the Missouri Times in 2016 after working as a sports editor and TV news producer in mid-Missouri. Benjamin is a graduate of Missouri State University in Springfield. To contact Benjamin, email benjamin@themissouritimes.com or follow him on Twitter @BenjaminDPeters.