Three names submitted to Parson for Van Amburg judicial vacancy

ST. LOUIS — The commission tasked with narrowing down the pool of candidates for filling the vacancy on the Eastern District Court of Appeals has submitted nominees to the Governor for consideration.

The Appellate Judicial Commission announced Wednesday that they submitted three individuals to Gov. Mike Parson to replace Judge Lisa Van Amburg, who retired in August 2018.

The commission interviewed 18 Missourians from across the state in mid-December. After approximately six hours of public interviews, approximately 2.5 hours of deliberations, and five rounds of balloting, three nominees were chosen.

Michael E. Gardner, Robin Ransom, and John P. Torbitzky are the three individuals put forth to Parson. 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.

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, New Jersey, 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 Appellate Judicial Commission is comprised of Missouri Supreme Court Chief Justice Zel M. Fischer, 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.