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2021 State of Judiciary address moves online


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — After the kerfuffle over the State of the State venue earlier this week, the annual State of the Judiciary address will be held online this year, according to the Missouri Supreme Court.

“The Supreme Court of Missouri has been conducting its business virtually since mid-March,” the announcement said. “Given that individual health concerns remain in flux due to the nature of the coronavirus, out of an abundance of caution for all involved and after discussions with legislative leaders, Chief Justice George W. Draper III will be delivering this year’s state of the judiciary address in a virtual format as well.”

The address is traditionally held in the Missouri House of Representatives. A memo from House Majority Floor Leader Dean Plocher noted that the change resulted from a discussion between the Supreme Court and the Senate

The speech will be broadcast from the Supreme Court building Tuesday morning. The video will be available on the Missouri Court website. Copies of the speech will be printed in the House and Senate journals. 

Draper also spoke at the annual meeting of the Missouri Bar and Judicial Conference of Missouri in September, which was also held virtually for the first time due to the pandemic. 

“This devastating pandemic is enormous and unprecedented; to human life and tranquility, it is profane,” Draper said during the meeting. “Even for those of us who have not yet been touched personally by this catastrophic disease, the societal changes it has wrought mean our lives are not the same. But as with all obstacles in life, necessity, ingenuity, and intestinal fortitude bolster the human character to ensure our survival.”

Draper was appointed to the Supreme Court in 2011 by then-Gov. Jay Nixon, and assumed office as chief justice in 2019. Prior to his appointment to the high court, he served on the Missouri Court of Appeals beginning in 2000. 

Gov. Mike Parson’s State of the State address was subject to last-minute changes Wednesday due to the pandemic; the speech was officially moved to the Senate chambers, while the House had long been the venue for the annual address. The Governor’s Office was informed it could not use the lower chamber that morning, leading to turmoil in both chambers as the venue was decided.