Supreme Court of Missouri
Judicial Selection Method: Missouri Plan
7 Judges (including 1 Chief Justice)
1 year minimum initial terms, 12 year terms
State High Court & Judicial Nominating Commission Composition & Terms of Judicial Nominating Commission Judicial Selection Process Legal Authority
      • 7 members:
    • 3 lawyers elected by the Missouri state bar
      • 1 from each appellate court district
    • 3 non-lawyers appointed by the Governor
      • 1 from each appellate court district
    • The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court serves as the chair for the committee for two years

Terms: 6 years (staggered, except for the Chair)


  • Commission submits a list of three persons from which the Governor must choose one.
  • At the end of a Judge’s term, the Judge will be subject to a statewide retention election and will continue for another term if the Judge is retained.

Interim Vacancies

  • The Governor shall fill vacancies by appointing one of three persons possessing the qualifications for such office, who shall be nominated and whose names shall be submitted to the Governor by a nonpartisan judicial commission established and organized as hereinafter provided.
  • If the Governor fails to appoint any of the nominees within sixty days after the list of nominees is submitted, the nonpartisan judicial commission making the nomination shall appoint one of the nominees to fill the vacancy.

Percentage of Lawyers on the Nominating Commission

Who Selects the Nominating Commissioners?

    Docket Watch

  • Declining to Follow Its Neighbor Missouri, the Kansas Supreme Court Holds Noneconomic Damages Cap in Medical Malpractice Cases Constitutional

    The Kansas Supreme Court, in Miller v. Johnson,1 recently upheld Kansas’ statutory cap on non-economic damages in personal injury cases, including medical malpractice cases, as constitutional. Specifically, the Kansas Supreme Court held the cap, set forth in K.S.A. 60-19a02, does not violate Sections 5 and 18 of the Kansas Constitution Bill of Rights providing a right to a jury trial and a right to damages, respectively. This decision is in contrast to its neighboring state’s supreme court, which recently declared a statutory cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases unconstitutional for violation of the right to a jury trial.2

  • Missouri Supreme Court Overrules 20 Years of Precedent in Holding Noneconomic Damages Cap Unconstitutional

    Overruling its own twenty-year precedent in Adams By and Through Adams v. Children’s Mercy Hospital1 (Adams), the Missouri Supreme Court, in a four-to-three decision, held in Watts v. Lester E. Cox Medical Centers (Watts) that the cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases in Mo. Rev. Stat. § 538.210, passed as part of the comprehensive tort reform passed by the Missouri Legislature in 2005, violates article I, section 22(a) of the Missouri Constitution’s right to trial by jury.2 The Missouri Supreme Court also held that Mo. Rev. Stat. § 538.220 grants a trial judge authority to determine the manner by which future damages shall be paid, including what amount shall be paid in future installments.3

  • Judicial Election

    Judges are elected by popular vote.
  • Democratic Appointment

    Judges are appointed directly by a democratic body, or appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of some democratic body.