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Missouri Supreme Court
Seal of Missouri.svg
State Seal of Missouri
Established 1841
Jurisdiction Missouri Missouri, United States United States
Location Jefferson City, Missouri
Authorized by Missouri Constitution
Decisions are appealed to Supreme Court of the United States
Missouri State Supreme Court building across from state capitol in Jefferson City

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. 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

Judges of the court are selected through the non-partisan plan, nationally known as the Missouri Plan. Under the plan, the Appellate Judicial Commission submits the names of three applicants to the Governor. If the Governor fails to make a nomination, the Commission shall make the appointment. Once the judge has served for at least a year, he or she will be placed on the general election ballot for a retention vote of the people. If retained, judges serve a term of 12 years.

Notable cases

The following is a list of notable cases decided by the Supreme Court of Missouri or which came to the Supreme Court of the United States from the Supreme Court of Missouri. Since 1973, the Supreme Court of Missouri has heard all cases en banc (before all seven judges), although before that many cases were heard in panels of three judges. Cases heard en banc are cited as "Mo. banc"; older cases heard by a panel are cited as "Mo."

Current Judges

See also: List of judges of the Supreme Court of Missouri

With the appointment of Zel Fischer in October 2008, there is now a full allocation of seven judges on the court. The judges rotate the two-year term of Chief Justice among themselves based on seniority.[1] The Chief Justice is Constitutionally empowered to preside over the court and to be the "chief administrative officer" of the state judicial system.[2]

Judge Date appointed Appointed by
William Ray Price, Jr. 1992 John Ashcroft
Michael A. Wolff 1998 Mel Carnahan
Laura Denvir Stith 2001 Bob Holden
Richard B. Teitelman 2002 Bob Holden
Mary Rhodes Russell 2004 Bob Holden
Patricia Breckenridge 2007 Matt Blunt
Zel Fischer 2008 Matt Blunt

Clerk of the Supreme Court

The clerk of the Supreme Court is responsible for a wide range of duties, including the supervision of the internal administrative function of the Court itself as well as the planning and administrative direction of the Missouri Judicial Conference, the organization of all the state's judges. The current clerk is Thomas F. Simon.


  1. ^ "New Chief Justice of Missouri Supreme Court". Jet. July 14, 2003.
  2. ^ Missouri Constitution, Article V, Sec. 8. As amended August 3, 1976. Accessed October 27, 2007.

External links

Redirecting to Supreme Court of Missouri

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