Vacancy due to retirement of Judge Lisa Van Amburg

Zel M. Fischer, chief justice of the Supreme Court of Missouri and chair of the Appellate Judicial Commission, announces the commission today submitted to Governor Michael L. Parson its panel of nominees to fill the vacancy on the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District. This vacancy exists due to the August 2018 retirement of Judge Lisa Van Amburg.

The commission unanimously supports the three nominees. After approximately six hours of public interviews, approximately 2.5 hours of deliberations and five rounds of balloting, the nominees are Michael E. Gardner, Robin Ransom and John P. Torbitzky.

Gardner is presiding judge of the 32nd Judicial Circuit (Bollinger, Cape Girardeau and Perry counties) in Cape Girardeau. He was born in 1979. He earned his bachelor of arts in political science in 2001 and his law degree, cum laude, in 2004, both from the University of Missouri-Columbia, then clerked for Judge Stephen N. Limbaugh Jr. at the Supreme Court of Missouri. He received seven votes.

Ransom is presiding judge-elect of the 22nd Judicial Circuit (St. Louis city) in St. Louis. She was born in 1967. She earned her bachelor of arts in political science and sociology in 1988 from Douglass College of Rutgers-The State University of New Jersey in New Brunswick, N.J., and her law degree in 1991 from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She received seven votes.

Torbitzky is a partner in the law firm Behr, McCarter & Potter PC in Clayton. He was born in 1984. He earned his bachelor of arts, cum laude, in English in 2007 from the University of Missouri-Columbia and his law degree, summa cum laude, in 2012 from Saint Louis University School of Law, then clerked for Judge Zel M. Fischer at the Supreme Court of Missouri. He received five votes.

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.

In addition to Fischer, the commission is composed of Michelle Beckler of Marshfield, Scott S. Bethune of Kansas City, Thomas K. Neill of St. Louis, Kathy Ritter of Columbia, Edward “Nick” Robinson of St. Louis and Donald E. Woody of Springfield.