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Missouri Supreme Court Judge Wolff to retire from bench next year

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 20, 2010 - Missouri Supreme Court Judge Michael A. Wolff just announced he will be resigning next year to return to teaching law at St. Louis University, after completing 13 years on the state's highest court.

Here's his full statement:

"I have informed my colleagues at the Supreme Court of Missouri that I plan to leave the Court to take a full-time teaching position at Saint Louis University School of Law beginning in the fall semester of 2011.

"The law school has a remarkable teaching faculty and has created a highly productive community of scholars. The scholarly work of the current faculty is extraordinary, and the school is attracting some of the finest young scholars in legal education today. While I am not exactly young, I am honored to be rejoining their ranks. It is a vibrant and exciting place.

"I have enjoyed my time on the Court because I have been privileged to serve with a highly collegial and mutually supportive group of judges -- and I include in my gratitude the several with whom I served who have moved on during my time here. I likewise am grateful for the ;help of everyone with whom I have worked alongside -- my staff, including my executive assistant and the many law clerks who have worked for me; the clerk and deputy clerks of the court; our communications staff; legal counsel; marshals; and maintenance workers.

"I also am grateful for those who support us here and at the state courts administrator's office as well as the judges and staff throughout the state who are part of this fine judicial system. I thank the members of appellate judicial commission, the late Gov. Mel Carnahan and the voters of Missouri for this great privilege. I hope that I have served the citizens of Missouri well, and I hope my successor on the Court will enjoy serving here as much as I have.

"By next August, I will have served 13 years on the Court, and the Missouri Constitution says I must retire in the not-too-distant future. Because I am not the retiring type, I am looking forward to the next phase of my life."

Wolff, a resident of St. Louis County, was appointed to the Supreme Court of Missouri in August 1998 by then-Gov. Mel Carnahan, a Democrat, and retained by voters in November 2000. He served as chief justice from July 2005 through June 2007.

Wolff's decision means that another Democrat, Gov. Jay Nixon, will name his replacement.

A bit of history: In 1992, Nixon and Wolff were among a crowd of Democrats battling it out in a nasty primary for Missouri attorney general. That contest featured some particularly harsh attacks between Wolff and Nixon. Nixon won and went on to hold the job 16 years. He and Wolff have long since healed any rifts.

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.

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