“I am proud and honored to name Judge Robin Ransom as the newest member of the state’s highest court,” Parson said. “Judge Ransom will add valuable experience, perspective, and balance to the court. I have high confidence that she will continue to be a fair enforcer of the law, faithfully interpret the law as written, and reasonably consider decisions made at the trial and appellate level in her own evaluation.”
Ransom is a judge on the Missouri Eastern District Court of Appeals in St. Louis — a position Parson appointed her to in 2019. She is a former circuit judge and former family court commissioner in St. Louis. Additionally, she worked in the St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office as well as the St. Louis County Public Defender’s Office.
Ransom is a graduate of Douglass Residential College at Rutgers University with a law degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law.
“It’s not lost on me the historic nature of this appointment — to be the first African American woman appointed to the Missouri Supreme Court,” Ransom said. “To uphold the constitution, to strictly construe it, and to follow the laws as written: Those are my obligations, and that is what I intend to do as the newest member of this court.”
The Appellate Judicial Commission submitted its list of nominees to Parson Friday. The three nominees were chosen after more than eight hours of public interviews, four hours of deliberation, and nine hours of balloting last week, whittling down a list of 25 applicants to arrive at its picks. All three candidates received six votes from the seven-member commission.
“On behalf of all my colleagues on the Court, it is my great pleasure to welcome Judge Robin Ransom to the state’s highest court,” Chief Justice George W. Draper III said. “Judge Ransom brings years of experience to our bench, with a distinguished career in litigation, family courts and the trial bench before her appellate service. She also is a trailblazer, becoming the first woman of color ever to serve on our state’s high court. She is passionate about the law, and we welcome the energy, enthusiasm, and experience she brings to our bench.”
Ransom was chosen over Donald E. Burrell Jr. and William M. Corrigan Jr.
“In nearly 200 years of statehood, only two Black judges – and no Black women – have served on the Missouri Supreme Court,” said Rep. Ashley Bland Manlove, chair of the Missouri Legislative Black Caucus. “We are pleased to see Black women finally represented on our highest court with the appointment of Judge Robin Ransom. Although this is a historic day, the fact that it took two centuries to happen highlights the continued need to address inequities in all aspects of Missouri’s judicial system.”
The vacancy was created by the retirement of Judge Laura Denvir Stith; she retired in March after 20 years on the high court. She served as Chief Justice from 2007 to 2009, the second woman to hold the position in Missouri. She was appointed in 2001 by Democratic Gov. Bob Holden and was retained by voters twice. Stith was the longest-serving judge on the high court at the time of her retirement.
Prior to her tenure on the Supreme Court, she served as a law clerk for a year before being appointed as a judge of the Missouri Court of Appeals. Stith served the Court of Appeals for more than six years before her appointment to the high court.
Ransom is Parson’s first appointment to the high court. Justice Wesley Brent Powell, the last person to be named to the court, was appointed by former Gov. Eric Greitens in 2017.
Kaitlyn Schallhorn contributed to this report.