JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Missouri Democratic Party hasn’t given up on their challenge to an appointed lieutenant governor, even after a judge ruled the authority lies with the governor.
Darrell Cope and the Missouri Democratic Party have filed an appeal to the Missouri Supreme Court after their lawsuit was dismissed on July 11, 2018. Cole County Circuit Court Judge Jon Beetem ruled that they did not have the standing to bring the lawsuit and that the governor has the authority to appoint a lieutenant governor under the Missouri Constitution.
At issue is now-Gov. Mike Parson filling the vacant position of lieutenant governor by appointment. The job was left vacant when Parson stepped up to lead the Show-Me State following the resignation of Eric Greitens as Missouri’s governor on June 1, 2018.
On June 18, 2018, Parson appointed the former-Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kehoe to fill the position of lieutenant governor. Kehoe was sworn into the office directly after the announcement. The appointment was challenged in court within hours.
The Missouri Democratic Party, along with Darrell Cope, filed a lawsuit in an attempt to send the issue to the voters claiming the governor doesn’t have the authority to appoint a person to lieutenant governor.
In Beetem’s dismissal of the lawsuit, he attempted to settle the dispute and add some clarity to the matter. He concluded that Parson has the authority to appoint Kehoe as Lieutenant Governor under the Missouri Constitution.
Beetem specifically cited Article IV of the Missouri Constitution, which states, “The governor shall fill all vacancies in public offices unless otherwise provided by law…” Missouri law does not provide another way to fill a vacancy in the office of the lieutenant governor.
Alisha Shurr was a reporter for the Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine. She joined the Missouri Times in January 2018 after working as a copy editor for her hometown newspaper in Southern Oregon. Alisha is a graduate of Kansas State University.