Candidate Profile
Patricia Breckenridge

Non-Partisan , Missouri

Biography

Name
Patricia Breckenridge
Party
Non-Partisan
Race
Supreme Court (retention of Breckenridge)
Incumbent
Yes
Links

Panel Rating

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Other Information

Background:

Governor Kit Bond appointed Patricia Breckenridge to be an Associate Circuit Judge in 1982. In 1990, Governor John Ashcroft appointed Breckenridge to the Court of Appeals Western District. In 2007, Governor Matt Blunt appointed Breckenridge to the Missouri Supreme Court.

Governor Blunt said, “I believe that Judge Breckenridge can improve the Missouri Supreme Court by replacing one of its most liberal judges…I also accept Judge Breckenridge's statement that she will not seek to legislate from the bench. I cannot be certain that any judge selected by this Appellate Judicial Commission will follow the judicial philosophy of U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice (John) Roberts, who I believe should be the model.”

Judge Breckenridge: “Due process and the rule of law make this country unique…Like the legislative and executive branches, courts are accountable to the will of the people – but in a different way. Those branches are designed to be responsive to the current interests and needs of the voters, but courts are held accountable to the will of the people as expressed in the constitution and laws enacted by you and by past members of this body.”

Judge Breckenridge: “We can be thankful for our forefathers’ design, but what truly makes our system of justice work as it was intended is our people.”

The National Review says that, when Chief Justice Laura Stith and Judge Breckenridge were serving on the Missouri Court of Appeals together, Justice Breckenridge agreed with all 51 cases that then-Judge Stith wrote.

Notable Cases:

Judge Breckenridge joined the Missouri Supreme Court majority in Planned Parenthood v. Department of Social Services (2020). The Court majority struck down a statutory provision that says no state funds shall be sent to any abortion facility, arguing that “article III, section 23 of the Missouri Constitution prohibits using an appropriation bill to amend a substantive statute.” Judge Fischer dissented.

Judge Breckenridge joined the Court majority in Priorities USA v. State of Missouri (2020), which the Court struck down the section of a law that requires voters who lack acceptable photo IDs to sign a certain affidavit. The Court unanimously agreed that the current form of the affidavit was self-contradictory. Judge Powell and Judge Fischer dissented, arguing that the Court should have removed the self-contradictory language or pursued one of several other options to avoid striking down the affidavit requirement altogether.

Judge Breckenridge wrote the opinion for a unanimous Court in City of Aurora v. Spectra Communications Group (2019), overturning the Court’s decision in City of Normandy. Justice Breckenridge wrote, “[E]very law is entitled to a presumption of constitutional validity in this Court, and if the line drawn by the legislature is supported by a rational basis, the law is not local or special and the analysis ends.” Chief Judge Fischer concurred in result only.

In Cope v. Parson (2019), the Missouri Supreme Court held that Governor Michael Parson’s appointment of Lieutenant Governor Mike Keho was constitutional. Judge Draper dissented in part, and Judge Breckenridge joined his dissenting opinion: “I respectfully dissent from the principal opinion’s interpretation of Missouri’s constitution to permit the governor to fill the vacancy of the office of the lieutenant governor. The Missouri Constitution states, ‘The governor shall fill all vacancies in public offices unless otherwise provided by law, and his [or her] appointees shall serve until their successors are duly elected or appointed and qualified’…The legislature has ‘otherwise provided’ by enacting section 105.030.1, RSMo Supp. 2016, which states when the governor is not authorized to fill a public office vacancy.”

Judge Breckenridge joined a unanimous Court in Rebman v. Parson (2019). The Court held that the legislature’s challenged “funding restrictions were no more than an attempt by the legislative branch to force the executive branch to terminate a specific employee. Isolating a single executive branch employee in this way exceeded the general assembly’s plenary authority to appropriate funds because it effectively precluded the director of the department from selecting which ALJ to dismiss, which is the director’s constitutional prerogative.”

Judge Breckenridge joined the Court majority in Lampley v. Missouri Commission on Human Rights (2019). The Court said, “Section 213.055.1(1)(a) provides it is an unlawful employment practice ‘to discriminate against any individual with respect to his [or her] compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of...sex’…Sex discrimination is discrimination, it is prohibited by the Act, and an employee may demonstrate this discrimination through evidence of sexual stereotyping.” Judge Powell dissented, and Chief Justice Fischer dissented in part.

Justice Breckenridge joined the Missouri Supreme Court majority in R.M.A. v. Blue Springs R-IV School District (2019): “R.M.A.’s petition alleges his ‘legal sex is male’ and that, by denying him ‘access to the boys’ restrooms and locker rooms,’ Defendants have discriminated against him in the use of a public accommodation ‘on the grounds of his sex’… R.M.A. asserts he has stated a claim under section 213.065.2, which, in relevant part, provides: ‘It is an unlawful discriminatory practice for any person, directly or indirectly, to refuse, withhold from or deny any other person...advantages, facilities, services, or privileges made available in any place of public accommodation...or to segregate or discriminate against any such person in the use thereof on the grounds of...sex.” The circuit court had dismissed R.M.A.’s petition, but the Missouri Supreme Court overturned the circuit court’s decision. Chief Justice Fischer and Judge Powell dissented.

Judge Breckenridge joined a unanimous Court in Doe v. Parson (2019): “Mary Doe… alleges requiring her to read the booklet [on when life begins] violates her rights under the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, and both reading the booklet and allegedly requiring her to have an ultrasound violate her rights under the Missouri Religious Freedom Restoration Act…the informed consent law neither requires a pregnant woman to read the booklet in question nor requires her to have or pay for an ultrasound. It simply provides her with that opportunity. And, while Ms. Doe mentions the 72-hour waiting period, she does not allege how that waiting period conflicts with her religion…The circuit court did not err in dismissing Ms. Doe’s petition for failure to state a claim.” Chief Justice Fischer and Judge Powell joined a concurring opinion.

Judge Breckenridge joined the Missouri Supreme Court majority in City of Normandy v. Greitens (2017): “The State failed to offer any evidence in the trial court of a substantial justification for the special laws in Senate Bill 5 ('SB 5') that were passed by the General Assembly in 2015…The statutes target municipalities in one political subdivision: St. Louis County. The trial court’s judgment permanently enjoining [i.e. forbidding] the State from enforcing these provisions is, therefore, affirmed.” Judge Fischer wrote a separate concurring opinion, and Judge Hess dissented.

Questionnaire

Please note: Responses are entered electronically by the candidate and are listed verbatim.

Religious Liberty

Religious liberty is at risk in the United States and deserves the highest level of protection in the law.

(Did not answer)

The Ten Commandments should not be displayed in public school buildings or court houses.

(Did not answer)

What does "separation of church and state" mean to you?

(Did not answer)


Values

Judeo-Christian values established a framework of morality which is necessary for our system of limited government.

(Did not answer)

George Washington's comment that “Religion and morality are the essential pillars of civil society” is still true today.

(Did not answer)

Briefly describe your spiritual beliefs and values.

(Did not answer)

In light of the U.S. Supreme Court decision Bostock v. Clayton County, which justice’s opinion most closely aligns with your opinion of whether the protections of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 should be extended to the LGBTQ community?

(Did not answer)

What types of pro bono work have you done?

(Did not answer)


Qualifications

I voted in these primaries and general elections:

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When you consider your views on a wide range of issues from economic and social matters to foreign policy and immigration, which of the following best describes you overall?

(Did not answer)

Please provide publicly available information validating your answer to the previous question.

(Did not answer)

What education or experience qualifies you to hold the office for which you seek election?

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In what areas of law have you practiced?

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Have you ever been convicted of a felony or been penalized for sexual misconduct? If so, please explain.

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Why should the voters choose you?

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Is there anything else you would like voters to know about you?

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Judicial Philosophy

The U.S. Constitution and my state constitution should be interpreted as living documents, rather than using a strict constructionist or originalist approach in judicial decisions.

(Did not answer)

There are times when American judges should alter U.S. case law in order to comply with foreign case law.

(Did not answer)

Which current U.S. Supreme Court justice best reflects your judicial philosophy?

(Did not answer)

What is the proper use of legislative history in interpreting statutory law?

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What possibilities should a judge exhaust before departing from precedent?

(Did not answer)

How should a judge determine which rights are protected by the Constitution even though they are not specifically mentioned?

(Did not answer)


Background

Education
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Work & Military
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