Judge Ginger Gooch
Judge Ginger Gooch (Photo provided by Supreme Court of Missouri)

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Correction: The original version of this story stated Gooch would be the first Springfield judge selected to serve on the state’s highest court in a century. Judge John C. Holstein is from Springfield, served as a judge in Howell County and later on the Court of Appeals, Southern District, which is in Springfield. He also served on the Supreme Court from 1989 to 2002.

A Springfield judge is among the three nominees to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court of Missouri.

If selected, Ginger K. Gooch — who is currently serving on the Missouri Court of Appeals, Southern District — would be the second Springfield judge to be selected to serve on the Supreme Court of Missouri in 100 years. 

Gooch was born in 1975 and lives in Springfield. She is a former president of the Springfield Metropolitan Bar Association.

According to a news release, she earned her bachelor of arts, summa cum laude, in English and philosophy, law and rhetoric in 1997 from Stephens College in Columbia and her law degree, cum laude, in 2000 from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law. She received seven votes.

Other Springfield judges to serve on the Supreme Court of Missouri include John Turner White, who served from 1923 to 1932, and John C. Holstein, who served from 1989 to 2002.

The nominees were announced Wednesday by Mary R. Russell, chief justice of the Supreme Court of Missouri and chair of the Appellate Judicial Commission, and were submitted to Governor Michael Parson. 

The vacancy exists due to the August 2023 retirement of Judge George W. Draper III.

After nearly eight hours of public interviews, approximately three hours of deliberations, and eight rounds of balloting, the commission also selected Kelly C. Broniec and Michael E. Gardner as nominees. 

The governor has 60 days to select one member of the panel to fill the vacancy. Should he fail to do so, the Missouri Constitution directs the commission to make the appointment, according to the release.

Broniec is chief judge of the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, in St. Louis. She was born in 1971 and resides in Montgomery City. 

Gardner is a judge on the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, in St. Louis. He was born in 1979 and resides in Cape Girardeau. 

Jackie Rehwald

Jackie Rehwald is a reporter at the Springfield Daily Citizen. She covers public safety, the courts, homelessness, domestic violence and other social issues. Her office line is 417-837-3659. More by Jackie Rehwald