JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) – A Missouri nominating commission has given Gov. Jay Nixon his choice of a trial judge, a St. Louis attorney and a former aide to fill an opening on the state Supreme Court.

The three finalists for the state high court, announced Wednesday night, are Jackson County Circuit Judge Michael Manners, St. Louis attorney Stanley Wallach and Columbia attorney Paul Wilson. They are seeking to replace William Ray Price Jr., who stepped down from the Supreme Court in August.

The state’s Appellate Judicial Commission interviewed 18 candidates and deliberated for three hours before announcing its selection.

Nixon now has 60 days to decide whether to appoint one of the three finalists.

Manners, 62, of Lee’s Summit has been a circuit judge since 2000 and was among the finalists considered by Nixon for the last opening on the high court. He spent nearly two decades as the prosecutor in Smithville and has degrees in history and political science from the University of Central Missouri and a law degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Wallach, 47, lives in Kirkwood and has focused on property law and eminent domain. He has been the chairman of the Missouri Bar Eminent Domain Committee and has testified before state lawmakers on condemnation and easement legislation. He has degrees in political science and Russian from Duke University and a law degree from the University of Chicago.

Wilson, 51, of Jefferson City, worked in the attorney general’s office under Nixon and remained in the administration when Nixon became governor. In January 2010, Nixon appointed Wilson to be a circuit judge in Cole County. He now works for a law firm in Columbia. Wilson graduated from Drury College and has a law degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia.


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