18 seek soon-to-be vacant spot on Missouri Supreme Court
Eighteen people are applying to be the next judge of the Missouri Supreme Court.
The Appellate Judicial Commission on Tuesday released the names of the applicants it will interview in October to replace Judge William Ray Price Jr. Price, a 20-year member of the court, is retiring on Aug. 1.
According to demographic information released by the commission, 11 of the applicants work in the public sector and seven work in the private sector. Three of the applicants are women, and one is a minority. Six of the applicants are from outside the state’s metropolitan areas. Their mean age is about 53.
The applicants are:
• Alan Blankenship, an associate circuit judge in Stone County;
• Lisa W. Hardwick, a judge with Missouri Court of Appeals Western District;
• Jeff Harris, an aide to Gov. Jay Nixon and a former minority leader in the Missouri House;
• Joe D. Jacobson, a name partner with St. Louis firm Green Jacobson;
• Russell J. Kruse, of The Kruse Law Firm in Concordia;
• James R. Layton, solicitor general of the Missouri Attorney General’s office;
• Benjamin A. Lipman, a member of Lewis, Rice & Fingersh in St. Louis (Full disclosure: Lipman represents Missouri Lawyers Media on media law matters);
• Michael W. Manners, a Jackson County Circuit judge based in Independence;
• James R. McAdams, the deputy director and general counsel for the Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions, and Professional Registration;
• Karen K. Mitchell, a judge on the Missouri Court of Appeals Western District;
• Glenn A. Norton, a judge on the Missouri Court of Appeals Eastern District;
• Steven Ohmer, the presiding judge of the St. Louis Circuit Court;
• Mark D. Pfeiffer, a judge on the Missouri Court of Appeals Western District;
• Mary W. Sheffield, a circuit judge in the 25th Circuit in south-central Missouri;
• Stanley J. Wallach, a partner of The Wallach Law Firm in St. Louis;
• Thomas B. Weaver, a partner with Armstrong Teasdale in Clayton;
• Paul C. Wilson, an attorney with Van Matre, Harrison, Hollis, Taylor and Bacon in Columbia and a former Cole County circuit judge; and
• Curtis E. Woods, a partner with SNR Denton in Kansas City.
The last time there was an opening on the Supreme Court was last year, following Judge Michael Wolff’s retirement. Just 13 people applied for that opening, which was the first vacancy on the Supreme Court to be filled under rule announced in 2010 that requires interviewees’ names to be made public.
Of last year’s group of hopefuls, seven are returning for this year’s vacancy, including Manners and Jacobson, who were finalists for the position. The judgeship ultimately went to Judge George Draper III.
The Appellate Judicial Commission is scheduled to conduct public interviews with the applicants starting at 10 a.m. on Oct. 10 at the Supreme Court Building in Jefferson City. It expects to announce a panel of three finalists later that day.
Under the Nonpartisan Court Plan, the governor will have 60 days to appoint one of the three