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Missouri’s 2nd Black state Supreme Court judge to retire in August

Judge George W Draper III.png
Posted at 10:23 AM, Jun 20, 2023

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The second Black judge to ever serve on the Missouri Supreme Court will retire in August, and the state is accepting applications for his replacement.

Judge George W. Draper III, who was appointed to the Missouri Supreme Court in October 2011 by former Gov. Jay Nixon and served as the high court’s chief justice from July 2019 to July 21, will retire Aug. 4, 2023.

He turns 70 in August, which is the statutory age for retirement in Missouri for all non-municipal judges.

Draper, a St. Louis native, became the first Black judge in St. Louis County when he was appointed as an associate circuit judge in 1994.

He joined the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Eastern District in May 2000.

Draper received his bachelor’s degree from Morehouse College and received his law degree from Howard University.

Citizens can nominate candidates to replace Draper before noon on July 21. Candidates must be at least 30 years old, licensed to practice law in Missouri, have been a U.S. citizen for at least 15 years and have been a Missouri voter for at least the last nine years.

Nominations can be made via email to or by mail to the Appellate Judicial Commission, Supreme Court of Missouri Judge Vacancy, P.O. Box 150, Jefferson City, Missouri, 65102.

Select applicants will be interviewed Aug. 21-23 in Jefferson City.