Selection of judges in the Supreme Court, the Missouri Court of Appeals and six of the state's urban trial courts is governed by the merit-based nonpartisan court plan. In the remaining 109 counties, voters continue to choose trial judges through partisan elections. When an interim vacancy occurs in one of these counties, the governor appoints a judge to serve until the next election. For more information about this application process, click here: interim judicial vacancies in trial courts.
The process of filing vacancies under the Missouri Nonpartisan Court Plan requires the governor to select judges from a panel of three qualified applicants selected by a nonpartisan commission of citizens, lawyers and a judge. Voters then decide periodically whether to retain nonpartisan judges. For vacancies on the Supreme Court of Missouri and Missouri Court of Appeals, the nonpartisan commission is called the Appellate Judicial Commission. The six circuit courts subject to the nonpartisan plan have their own circuit judicial commissions.
Current Nonpartisan Judicial Vacancies
- Sixth Judicial Circuit (Platte County):
- There currently are no vacancies in the 6th circuit.
- Seventh Judicial Circuit (Clay County):
- There currently are no vacancies in the 7th circuit.
- 16th Judicial Circuit (Jackson County):
- Applications are due May 6 for the impending Forsyth circuit judge vacancy in Jackson County.
- 21st Judicial Circuit (St. Louis County):
- Applications are due May 18 for the circuit judge vacancy in St. Louis County created by the appointment of Judge Colleen Dolan to the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District.
- The commission on April 26 released demographic, interviewee and meeting information for the newly created associate circuit judge position in St. Louis County.
- The commission on April 4 nominated St. Louis County associate circuit judges Joseph S. Dueker and Mary B. Schroeder and attorney Thomas J. Plunkert for the Prebil circuit judge vacancy in St. Louis County.
- The governor on March 31 appointed Legal Services of Eastern Missouri program managing attorney Jason D. Dodson to fill the Watkins associate circuit judge vacancy in St. Louis County.
- 22nd Judicial Circuit (St. Louis city):
- 31st Judicial Circuit (Greene County):
- The governor on April 28 appointed Springfield Municipal Judge Becky Borthwick to fill the newly created associate circuit judge position in Greene County.
Missouri Court of Appeals
- Applications are due April 29 for the Ellis vacancy on the Western District appeals court.
- The governor on March 18 appointed St. Louis County Circuit Judge Colleen Dolan to fill the Cohen vacancy on the Eastern District appeals court.
Supreme Court of Missouri
- There currently are no vacancies on the Supreme Court of Missouri.