JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Three Missouri appellate judges, two from the St. Louis court and one from Springfield, have been nominated to fill a vacancy on the state’s highest court.
The Appellate Judicial Commission has recommended Kelly Broniec, Michael Gardner, or Ginger Gooch replace Judge George Draper III on the Missouri Supreme Court. Draper retired earlier this month, the day before his 70th birthday.
Under the state’s constitution, judges are required to retire when they turn 70. Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, appointed Draper to the bench in 2011. He is the second African American to serve on the court.
The commission interviewed the 23 applicants and presented the three finalists to Governor Mike Parson, who has 60 days to fill the vacancy. If Parson is unable to choose a judge, the commission will make the choice.
Broniec is the current chief judge of the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, and lives in Montgomery City. She earned her bachelor of arts, summa cum laude, in business administration from what is now William Woods University in Fulton and her law degree in 1996 from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law.
Gardner serves on the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, and resides in Cape Girardeau. He earned his bachelor of arts in political science in 2001 from the University of Missouri-Columbia and his law degree, cum laude, in 2004, from the MU School of Law.
Gooch is a judge on the Missouri Court of Appeals, Southern District, and lives in Springfield. She earned her bachelor of arts, summa cum laude, in English and philosophy, law, and rhetoric in 1997 from Stephens College in Columbia. In 2000, she received her law degree, cum laude, from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law.
All three candidates received seven votes from the seven-member commission.