15 November 2007
Supreme Court celebrates investiture of Judge Patricia Breckenridge
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – New Supreme Court of Missouri Judge Patricia Breckenridge took her oath of office during a 2:30 p.m. ceremony Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2007. Chief Justice Laura Denvir Stith presided over the formal ceremony in the Supreme Court's en banc courtroom in Jefferson City. To listen to audio of the ceremony, please click here: Breckenridge investiture 11-14-07.mp3
Former Supreme Court Chief Justice Ann K. Covington; Judge Victor Howard, chief judge of the Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District; Judge James R. Bickel, presiding judge of the 28th Judicial Circuit (Barton, Cedar, Dade and Vernon counties); and Kansas City, Mo., attorney R. Denise Henning spoke to a courtroom full of family, friends and public servants in all three branches of government. The remarks of the speakers – all of whom noted Breckenridge's integrity, generosity, caring for those in need and courage to do the "right thing" in reaching judicial decisions – were carried via closed-circuit television to a second courtroom full of well-wishers because the more than 250 people who attended yesterday's ceremony could not all be accommodated in a single courtroom. Former Western District Chief Judge Don W. Kennedy administered the oath of office, and Breckenridge's husband, Bryan Breckenridge, assisted with the robing.
Kennedy noted he had known Breckenridge since birth, as her parents lived two blocks down from him in Nevada, Mo. This marked the third time he had administered an oath to Breckenridge. He said he remembers that 30 years ago, when he was a circuit judge in Vernon County, she stood in his courtroom, fresh out of law school, seeking to be sworn in as a member of The Missouri Bar. Thirteen years later, when he was serving on the Western District, he swore her in as an appellate judge of that court.
In her remarks, Breckenridge thanked her family, her friends, her colleagues and her staff for all their advice and support, especially through the process of being nominated to and selected for the Court, as well as her new colleagues and the staff at the Supreme Court for being so welcoming to her. She also thanked Gov. Matt Blunt for his faith in her.
"I never have forgotten that ultimately, every decision I make impacts people – those in the case, and those who will be affected by that decision for years to come," Breckenridge said in reflecting on her 25 years as a judge.
Breckenridge closed her remarks by noting that, although the governor did not ask her to make any promises to him, "I make a promise to all of you today: that I will endeavor to serve with integrity and respect; that I will be fair and impartial, making decisions based only on the facts and the law of each case; and above all else, that I will endeavor always to do the right thing. In doing so, I hope I will prove that the faith of my family, my friends, my colleagues, the Appellate Judicial Commission, Governor Blunt and the people of Missouri is well placed."
Born in October 1953 in Nevada, Breckenridge received her bachelor of science degree, with honors, in agricultural economics in 1975 and her law degree in 1977, both from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Prior to her September 2007 appointment to the Supreme Court, she served as an associate circuit judge in Vernon County from 1982 to 1990 and as a judge on the Court of Appeals, Western District, from 1990 to 2007. Breckenridge lives in Nevada.
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