Former Missouri justice is confirmed as federal judge, 15 years after Senate rejection

The U.S. Senate has confirmed Ronnie White as a federal judge in Missouri 15 years after rejecting his original nomination.

White, the first black justice on the Missouri Supreme Court, was confirmed on Wednesday in a 53-44 vote, report the National Law Journal, the Washington Post and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He won confirmation by nine votes this time, after being rejected by nine votes in 1999.

White was still a Missouri Supreme Court justice when President Clinton nominated him in 1997. Then-Sen. John Ashcroft, R-Mo., led the fight against White, arguing that his death-penalty rulings were “pro criminal.” Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, opposed White both in 1999 and again this time, according to the NLJ.

“I just have too many questions about his ability to keep his personal considerations separate from his judicial opinions,” Grassley said.

White left the Missouri Supreme Court in 2007 to join a St. Louis law firm, Holloran White Schwartz & Gaertner, where he handled personal injury and business litigation.

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