Siddhesh Joshi (Editor)

Mary Elizabeth Phillips

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Appointed by  Barack Obama
Name  Mary Phillips
Preceded by  John Wood
President  Barack Obama
Preceded by  Ortrie Smith

Mary Elizabeth Phillips
Succeeded by  David Ketchmark (Acting)
Alma mater  University of Chicago University of Missouri, Columbia

Mary Elizabeth "Beth" Phillips (born 1969) is a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri.


Early life and education

Phillips was born in Kirksville, Missouri in 1969. She received two degrees from University of Chicago, a Bachelor of Arts in 1991 and a Master of Arts in 1992. Phillips then earned her Juris Doctor from the University of Missouri School of Law in 1996.

U.S. Attorney

On September 30, 2009, President Barack Obama nominated Phillips to serve as the United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri. She was confirmed by the United States Senate on December 24, 2009.

Federal judicial service

On June 7, 2011, President Barack Obama nominated Phillips to a seat on United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri. She would replace Judge Ortrie D. Smith who took senior status in 2011. She received a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on September 20, 2011, and her nomination was reported to the floor of the Senate by voice vote on October 13, 2011. On March 6, 2012, the United States Senate confirmed Phillips' nomination in a 95–2 vote. She received her commission on March 22, 2012. She was sworn in on March 23, 2012.

Notable rulings

An online NBC News story article that was featured on the MSN homepage, dated Monday, May 19, 2014, by Tracy Connor, stated that Judge Phillips had refused to stop the Wednesday, May 21, 2014 execution of a Missouri prisoner (which would use pentobarbital, likely from an unnamed compounding pharmacy, per Missouri procedure), Russell Bucklew, rejecting in her ruling his argument in a civil rights lawsuit that a rare birth defect which impairs his circulation, among other effects, would make the administration of the drug an unconstitutionally cruel method of lethal injection. The case is receiving increased attention in light of the April 29, 2014 botched lethal injection execution of an Oklahoma inmate, Clayton Lockett, using a three-drug cocktail, making the drugs different from the current case. It was unclear if any other relevant factors were raised in the petition, such as intelligence level or mental illness (which also could have halted the execution), that might (or might not) result from his rare condition, but no mention of them being an issue at court proceedings was made in the article. The judge ruled that other methods of execution that would be feasible for him should have been explored by Bucklew and his team first (it was not stated if other methods were or have been considered). He has been convicted of murdering a friend of his ex-girlfriend, and then kidnapping and raping her. His attorneys will appeal the ruling.


Mary Elizabeth Phillips Wikipedia