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Chief Justice Gives State of the Judiciary Address

In his State of the Judiciary address, Missouri Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronnie White talked about the role of the judiciary in an era when judges are criticized for being activists. KSMU's Missy Shelton reports.

Speaking to a joint session of the Missouri House and Senate, Chief Justice Ronnie White discussed how the judicial system fits into our system of government.

He said past rulings, laws and the state and federal constitutions should guide the courts, not popular opinion.

But something White said in his address did prove to be popular with some Republican lawmakers.

He received a standing ovation when he talked about the scope of the court's power.

Republican Representative Brad Roark says he appreciated White's comments.

He says he hopes White and judges around the state will heed his words and won't try to make law.

And Roark says it's important to remember that when judges make unpopular rulings, that doesn't always mean they're overstepping their authority.

At the conclusion of the State of the Judiciary Address, Chief Justice Ronnie White called on lawmakers to provide courts with adequate funding.

He said it's up to lawmakers to ensure the judicial system has the resources it needs.

Funding for the courts is something that Republican Representative Brad Roark has dealt with the last two years as chairman of the committee that appropriates money to the courts.

Roark says the state has done a good job funding the judiciary.

Following the State of the Judiciary, newly-elected legislators were invited to the Supreme Court for an orientation.