Supreme Court marks firsts during bar enrollment ceremonies

8 October 2004


Supreme Court marks firsts during bar enrollment ceremonies


Contact: Beth Riggert, Communications Counsel
Supreme Court of Missouri
Desk: 573-751-3676
Cell: 573-619-2849


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – For the first time in the Supreme Court of Missouri's history, a husband and wife – and an Asian-American – sat as special judges with the Court. Judge George W. Draper III, chief judge of the Court of Appeals, Eastern District, and his wife, Judge Judy P. Draper of the 21st Judicial Circuit (St. Louis County) participated during this morning's ceremonies to admit new attorneys to The Missouri Bar. Judge Judy Draper is Asian-American.

"We are so pleased that both Judges Draper were able to join us this morning," Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronnie L. White said. "As we welcomed all the new attorneys to the practice of law in this state, it was nice for them to experience first-hand the great diversity of the Bar and the bench." White noted that Judge George Draper also is the first African-American to serve as chief judge of the Court of Appeals.

"It was a wonderful experience to be able to sit as a special judge on the Supreme Court this morning with my wife," Judge George Draper said.

Judge Judy Draper agreed, "This will be a memory that we will be able to share with our family as well as this new generation of lawyers who were sworn in today."

The Drapers were sitting in place of Supreme Court judges Michael A. Wolff and Richard B. Teitelman, who were unable to attend this morning's enrollment ceremonies.  Nearly 550 new attorneys were admitted to the Bar during 10 ceremonies. Also participating in this morning's ceremonies was Judge Mary Rhodes Russell, who was sworn in as the Court's newest judge during a brief, private ceremony early this morning. She was selected in September 2004 to replace Judge Duane Benton, and she will begin sitting with the Court later this month. Her official investiture will be held at a later date.

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From left: Judge Stephen N. Limbaugh, Jr.; Judge William Ray Price, Jr.; Special Judge Judy P. Draper of the 21st Judicial Circuit; Chief Justice Ronnie L. White; Judge Laura Denvir Stith; Special Judge George W. Draper III, chief judge of the Court of Appeals, Eastern District; and Judge Mary Rhodes Russell shown  presiding over one of 10 ceremonies to swear in new attorneys to The Missouri Bar, the organization of all lawyers licensed in Missouri.