JEFFERSON CITY – Gov. Jay Nixon today appointed Jeff Harris, of Columbia, as Circuit Judge for the 13th Judicial Circuit, which covers Boone and Callaway counties. The position became vacant upon the retirement of the Honorable Gary Oxenhandler.
From 2009 to 2016, Harris served as Policy Director for Gov. Nixon. He represented the 23rd District in the Missouri House of Representatives from 2003 to 2009, serving as House Minority Leader and as House Minority Whip. While in the House, he also practiced law with the Columbia law firm of Atwill and Montgomery. Harris served as head of the Attorney General’s Governmental Entities Unit from 2001 to 2002 and was with the Bryan Cave law firm in Kansas City from 1992 to 2001.
“Jeff Harris is an exceptional public servant who combines a brilliant legal mind, with impeccable character, integrity and ethics,” Gov. Nixon said. “Often the best judges are ones who have excelled both in their legal careers and at the highest levels of government. Jeff will bring both real-world experience and an exhaustive knowledge of Missouri law to the position of Circuit Judge. I thank Judge Oxenhandler for his distinguished service on the bench, and I know that Jeff will likewise serve the citizens of Boone and Callaway counties with distinction.”
A native of Columbia, Harris earned his bachelor’s degree from Vanderbilt University, magna cum laude, and his law degree from the Cornell Law School, where he was a member of the Board of Editors for the Cornell Law Review. Following graduation from law school, Harris served as judicial law clerk for Chief Justice William H. Barbour, Jr. of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi. Harris also completed a senior executive program at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in 2005.