UPDATE: Gov. appoints Columbian to Missouri appeals court

Thursday, July 9, 2009 | 4:49 p.m. CDT; updated 8:21 p.m. CDT, Thursday, July 23, 2009

JEFFERSON CITY — Gov. Jay Nixon on Thursday appointed longtime aide Karen King Mitchell to a state appeals court.

Mitchell, 50, of Columbia, has served since January as the director of the Department of Revenue. She previously was Nixon's chief deputy when Nixon was attorney general.

Mitchell said that she viewed the chance to serve on an appeals court as an "unprecedented opportunity" that she could not pass up.

"I've always been interested in pursuing a position on the bench," she said.

Nixon selected Mitchell to the Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District, to fill a vacancy created by the resignation of Paul Spinden. Mitchell was one of three nominees submitted to Nixon by a commission that screens applicants for appellate judicial vacancies. The other finalists were Circuit Judge Jacqueline Cook, of Belton, and Associate Circuit Judge Gary Witt, of Parkville.

In a written statement, the governor said Mitchell is especially qualified to be a judge because she has argued cases at every level of court in the judicial system, including the U.S. Supreme Court.

"Mitchell has consistently delivered exemplary representation to the people of the state of Missouri before courts at the trial and appellate levels, as well as considerable administrative leadership and expertise," Nixon said. "She has demonstrated remarkable knowledge of the law in every respect."

Nixon named Alana Barragan-Scott, who also worked with him in the attorney general's office, as acting director of the Revenue Department. Barragan-Scott is to take over the agency Monday.

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