Commission announces nominees for Supreme Court vacancy

3 September 2004

Commission announces nominees for Supreme Court vacancy

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

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Ronnie L. White, chief justice of the Supreme Court of Missouri and chair of the Appellate Judicial Commission, announced today that the Commission has submitted to Gov. Bob Holden its panel of nominees to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court. The vacancy exists due to the appointment of the Honorable Duane Benton to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.

The panel consists of the Honorable Nannette A. Baker, the Honorable Mary Rhodes Russell and Clifton M. Smart III.

Baker is a circuit judge in the 22nd Judicial Circuit (St. Louis City). She was born October 3, 1957, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. She received her bachelor of science degree in 1978 from The University of Tennessee at Knoxville and her law degree in 1994 from St. Louis University School of Law. Baker lives in St. Louis.

Russell is a judge on the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, and served as its chief judge from July 1999 through June 2000. She was born July 28, 1958, in Hannibal, Mo. She received two bachelor's degrees, summa cum laude, in 1980 from Northeast Missouri State University (now Truman State University) in Kirksville, Mo., and her law degree in 1983 from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Russell lives in Kirkwood, Mo.

Smart is a shareholder and vice president of Strong Law Firm, P.C., in Springfield, Mo. He was born September 9, 1960, in Blytheville, Ark. He received his bachelor's degree with high honors in 1983 from Tulane University in New Orleans and his law degree in 1986 from the University of Arkansas School of Law in Fayetteville, Ark. Smart lives in Springfield.

Gov. Holden has 60 days to select one member of the panel to fill the vacancy. If the governor should fail to do so, the Missouri constitution directs the Commission to make the appointment.

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