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Missouri Supreme Court

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Missouri Supreme Court
Court information
Justices:   7
Founded:   1820
Location:   Jefferson City, Missouri
Chief:  $
Associates:  $
Judicial selection
Method:   Comm. select., Gov. appt.
Term:   12 years
Active justices

Laura Denvir Stith  •  Patricia Breckenridge  •  Richard Teitelman  •  Mary Rhodes Russell (Missouri)  •  Zel Fischer  •  George Draper  •  Paul C. Wilson  •  

Seal of Missouri.png

The Supreme Court of Missouri is the highest court in the state of Missouri. It was established in 1820, and is located in Jefferson City, Missouri.


The current justices of the court are:
JudgeTermSelected by
Judge Laura Denvir Stith2001-12/31/2026
Judge Patricia Breckenridge2007-2020Gov. Matt Blunt
Justice Richard Teitelman2008-2016Gov. Bob Holden
Chief Justice Mary Rhodes Russell (Missouri)2004-2018Gov. Bob Holden
Judge Zel Fischer2008-2022Gov. Matt Blunt
Judge George Draper2011-2024Gov. Jay Nixon
Judge Paul C. Wilson2012-12/31/2026Gov. Jay Nixon

Chief justice

The judges rotate the two-year term of Chief Justice among themselves based on seniority.[1] The state constitution requires that the Chief Justice presides over the court and is the "chief administrative officer of the state judicial system."[2] Richard Teitelman is the current Chief Justice of the Missouri Supreme Court.


Missouri voters have approved changes in the state's constitution to give the Supreme Court exclusive jurisdiction - the sole legal power - to hear five types of cases on appeal. Pursuant to Article V, Section 3 of the Missouri Constitution, these cases involve:

  • The validity of a United States statute or treaty.
  • The validity of a Missouri statute or constitutional provision.
  • The state's revenue laws.
  • Challenges to a statewide elected official's right to hold office.
  • Imposition of the death penalty.

Unless their case involves one of those five issues, people who want a trial court's decision reviewed must appeal to the Missouri Court of Appeals. Most of these cases involve routine legal questions and end there. The Court of Appeals is divided geographically into the Eastern District, Western District and Southern District.

Certain cases, however, can be transferred to the Supreme Court - at the Court's discretion - if it determines that a question of general interest or importance is involved, that the laws should be re-examined, or that the lower court's decision conflicts with an earlier appellate decision. This is similar to the process the United States Supreme Court uses in accepting cases.

Judicial selection

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 for 12 years. As of the elections of 2008, no appellate judge in Missouri has lost a retention election.[3] Two appointments were made to court in 2008: Zel Fischer and Patricia Breckenridge.[4]


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.[5]

Removal of justices

A judge can be removed on the recommendation of the Missouri Commission on Retirement, Removal and Discipline,[6] or may be impeached by the house of representatives, which then goes to the Supreme Court. Convictions require the approval of five sevenths of the court or commission.[7]


Year Appeals filed Appeals disposed Writs filed Writs disposed Supervisory matters filed Supervisory matters disposed Opinions issued
2011 73 62 242 243 162 153 99
2010 67 65 201 194 121 112 90
2009 63 80 271 290 124 121 131
2008 72 57 258 224 109 113 105
2007 86 90 260 244 91 97 130
2006 137 117 266 273 95 96 101
2005 121 144 262 262 89 84 118
2004 97 91 192 215 71 64 85
2003 108 132 215 288 70 72 111
2002 93 80 204 197 62 65 90



The Chief Justice of the Missouri Supreme Court earns $139,534 annually, while associate justices earn $137,034, as of January 2010.[9][10]

Notable decisions

History of the court

Notable firsts

See also

External links


Portions of this article have been taken from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Copyright Notice can be found here.

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