Missouri Supreme Court
|Missouri Supreme Court|
|Location:||Jefferson City, Missouri|
|Method:||Comm. select., Gov. appt.|
JusticesThe current justices of the court are:
|Judge Laura Denvir Stith||2001-12/31/2026|
|Judge Patricia Breckenridge||2007-2020||Gov. Matt Blunt|
|Justice Richard Teitelman||2008-2016||Gov. Bob Holden|
|Chief Justice Mary Rhodes Russell (Missouri)||2004-2018||Gov. Bob Holden|
|Judge Zel Fischer||2008-2022||Gov. Matt Blunt|
|Judge George Draper||2011-2024||Gov. Jay Nixon|
|Judge Paul C. Wilson||2012-12/31/2026||Gov. Jay Nixon|
The Missouri Appellate Judicial Commission selects justices of the court according to the Missouri Plan. The Commission submits three names to the governor to determine the replacement. If the governor neglects this duty, the responsibility goes to the commission. After one year of serving on the court, the justice must go to general election to retain his seat. Terms are 12 years.
According to Article V, Section 21 of the state constitution, to be considered a qualified candidate for the Supreme Court, one must be at least 30 years of age, licensed to practice law in the state, a U.S. citizen for at least 15 years, and be a qualified voter of the state for at least nine years prior to the person's candidacy. Additionally, candidates must be younger than 70 years of age, as there is mandatory retirement at that time.
Justices elect their own chief justice. The state constitution requires that the chief justice presides over the court and is the "chief administrative officer of the state judicial system."
The Missouri Supreme Court has exclusive jurisdiction over appeals concerning the validity of a U.S. or Missouri statute, Missouri revenue laws, challenges to a statewide elected official's status in office, and cases where the death penalty has been sentenced. At its own discretion, the court may also take on cases that are deemed to be especially important, when laws may need to be re-examined, or when the decision of a lower court is in conflict with an earlier appellate ruling.
The court also has a supervisory role over the state's judiciary and attorneys.
In October 2012, political science professors Adam Bonica and Michael Woodruff of Stanford University attempted to determine the partisan outlook of state supreme court justices in their paper, State Supreme Court Ideology and 'New Style' Judicial Campaigns. A score above 0 indicated a more conservative leaning ideology while scores below 0 were more liberal. The state Supreme Court of Missouri was given a Campaign finance score (CFscore) which was calculated for judges in October 2012. At that time, Missouri received a score of 0.001. Based on the justices selected, Missouri was the 25th most conservative court. The study is based on data from campaign contributions by judges themselves, the partisan leaning of contributors to the judges or, in the absence of elections, the ideology of the appointing body (governor or legislature). This study is not a definitive label of a justice but rather, an academic gauge of various factors.
In December 2013, the Center for Public Integrity released a study on disclosure requirements for state supreme court judges. Analysts from the Center reviewed the rules governing financial disclosure in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, as well as personal financial disclosures for the past three years. The study found that 42 states and Washington D.C. received failing grades. Missouri earned a grade of F in the study. No state received a grade higher than "C". Furthermore, due in part to these lax disclosure standards, the study found 35 instances of questionable gifts, investments overlapping with caseloads and similar potential ethical quandaries. The study also noted 14 cases in which justices participated although they or their spouses held stock in the company involved in the litigation.
Removal of justices
The Missouri Commission on Retirement, Removal and Discipline may recommend the removal of a judge to the supreme court, which makes the final decision. A judge may also be impeached by a five-sevenths vote of the house of representatives. Such cases are tried by the supreme court or a special commission in the case of an impeachment of a governor or supreme court justice.
- Your Missouri Courts, "Supreme Court Judges"
- Missourinet, "State supreme court weighs dispute between public defenders, judges ," December 15, 2011
- Columbia Daily Tribune, "State Archives to post Supreme Court cases," March 7, 2011
- St. Louis Business Journal, "13 apply to succeed Judge Wolff on Missouri Supreme Court," July 18, 2011
- Your Missouri Courts, "Supreme Court," accessed January 29, 2015
- Your Missouri Courts, "Supreme Court Judges," accessed January 29, 2015
- American Judicature Society, "Methods of Judicial Selection: Missouri," accessed January 29, 2015
- Missouri Constitution, "Article 5, Section 8," accessed January 29, 2015
- The Missouri Courts, "Annual Judicial and Statistical Reports"
- Stanford University, "State Supreme Court Ideology and 'New Style' Judicial Campaigns," October 31, 2012
- Center for Public Integrity, "State supreme court judges reveal scant financial information," December 5, 2013
- American Judicature Society, "Methods of Selection: Removal of Judges"
|Paul C. Wilson|
|Laura Denvir Stith|
- See also: Missouri judicial elections, 2012
George Draper was retained by the voters.
| Missouri Supreme Court |
2012 General election results
- See also: 2010 State Supreme Court elections
Zel Fischer was retained by the voters.
| Missouri Supreme Court |
2010 General election results
- See also: State Supreme Court elections, 2008
Patricia Breckenridge was retained by the voters.
| Missouri Supreme Court |
2008 General election results
|Former||Michael Wolff • William Ray Price • Stephen N. Limbaugh, Jr. • William D. Benton • John Collet • Andrew Jackson Higgins •|