[A joint session of legislators heard a message of perseverance, equality and bipartisanship in today’s State of the Judiciary address. Supreme Court Chief Justice Richard Teitelman started by quoting former President Ronald Reagan.

Chief Justice Richard Teitelman dilivers the 39th State of the Judiciary. Photo courtesy Tim Bommel, House Communications

“There are no constraints on the human mind, no walls around the human spirit, no barriers to pour proress except those we ourselves erect.”

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln also got their due as Teitelman, who was appointed to serve on the Supreme Court in 2002, urged lawmakers to work together.  

Teitelman says he is honored to serve alongside Missouri’s second-only black supreme court judge, George Draper III. He says in the memory of Martin Luther King, Jr. this week, we must honor the heroes of our state. He recalled hearing his first State of the Judiciary address in the House Chamber, that one delivered by then-Chief Justice Steve Limbaugh Jr., who he says also focused on public service.

He pointed to a St. Louis circuit judge who exemplified that behavior.

“Judge Jimmie Edwards … believed there needed to be an alternative to incarceration for juveniles who deserve a second chance through education,” Teitelman said. “So in collaboration with 45 community partners, he took over an abandoned school and opened the Innovatie Concept Academy in 2009. The academy, which serves as a ‘school of last resort’ for at-risk youth … has received a number of national accolates.”

People magazine named Edwards as one of its 2011 Heroes of the Year, Teitelman says.

He echoed parts of Gov. Nixon’s State of the State, stating that Missourians will always give of themselves and triumph over disaster, such as the tornado in Joplin. He also talked about the importance of technology in moving the courts forward.

The address was followed by a luncheon in the Capitol Rotunda, where Teitelman was pleased to announce that for the first time ever, knishes were also being served.

AUDIO: Chief Justice Teitelman delivers State of the Judiciary. (12:29 min.)