After nearly two centuries, a Black woman has been appointed to serve as a Missouri Supreme Court judge. Judge Robin Ransom was appointed earlier this week by Gov. Mike Parson, which makes her the first Black woman to be appointed to serve in that capacity.
“While I may be the first African American woman to be part of this court,” Ransom said, “I’d also like to say that I have never lived by a label or by any identity that anyone’s put upon me. When I look in the mirror, I’ve always been Robin and I’ve always lived my life to be kind to everyone and be the best person I can be.”
Ransom has many years of experience. She served at the 21st Circuit Court for 10 years before taking up the role as a family court commissioner for the 22nd Circuit Court in 2002. In 2008, former Gov. Matt Blunt appointed her as a circuit judge to the same circuit court and she worked in that position in both 2010 and 2016. She served as the circuit judge until 2019 when Parson appointed her to the Missouri Court of Appeals Eastern District.
“I do not doubt that Judge Ransom will add valuable experience, perspective, and balance to the court,” Parson said at a press conference. “I am confident that she will continue to be a fair enforcer of the law, faithfully interpret the law as written, and reasonably consider decisions made at the trial and appellate level.”
The Louisiana native has been a lawyer for thirty years. She attended Rutgers University’s Douglass Residential College in New Jersey for her bachelor’s in 1988 and then went on to MU School of Law where she graduated with a Juris Doctor in 1991.
“As the daughter of a fireman, who worked and lived in a segregated engine house when he worked for the fire department, this is a very happy day for my mom, myself and my entire family,” Ransom said of her historic appointment. “I’m just very sorry that my father, who passed in 2007, did not live to see this day, but I know he’s looking down and he’s honored.”
She succeeds Judge Laura Denvir Stith on the Missouri Supreme Court. Stith hopes her term in the office has inspired many women and minorities throughout the state to pursue a career in law to the highest level. She retired after serving 20 years on the Missouri Supreme Court, including as Chief Justice from July 2007 to June 2009, Columbian Missouri reports.
The appointment of Ransom has been lauded by the Missouri Legislative Black Caucus. State Rep. Ashley Bland Manlove, D-Kansas City said they “are pleased to see Black women finally represented on our highest court.”
“Although this is a historic day, the fact that it took two centuries to happen highlights the continued need to address inequities in all aspects of Missouri’s judicial system,” Manlove added.