United States Courts
Western district of Missouri
Beth Phillips takes Oath of Office
U.S. Attorney Beth Phillips received the formal administration of the Oath of Office from U.S. District Judge Nanette K. Laughrey during a public ceremony at the Whittaker Courthouse on Friday, March 5, 2010.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Matt Whitworth opened the ceremony and introduced a number of guests. Peg Eckhart, a family friend, gave the invocation. Speakers included U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, Palle Rillinger, President of the Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault (MOCSA), and Jill Kanatzar, a friend and former co-worker at the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office.
Phillips noted the historical significance of her appointment as the district’s first female U.S. Attorney. “There have been many ‘firsts’ for women before my appointment,” Phillips said. “In 1996, the year I graduated from law school, Judge Laughrey was the first female to be appointed as an Article III judge in the Western District of Missouri. In 2006, Senator McCaskill became the first female to be elected to the United States Senate from the state of Missouri. I take great pride in the fact that I am the first woman to serve in this position and look forward to the day that this type of historic first is a footnote in the history books.”
Phillips took the Oath of Office alongside her husband, Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Brent Powell, who held the Bible.
“The U.S. Attorney has a special responsibility and duty,” Phillips said. “I don’t represent a particular, individual client, but rather have a duty to represent the interests of the American people as a whole. In short, the promise I make today is to seek justice.”
Phillips, who worked as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for 18 months before receiving her appointment, concluded by acknowledging the high respect the office holds in the community. “I know first-hand that the outstanding reputation of this office is the result of the extraordinary work of the staff and lawyers who make up the office. I am very proud to be a member of this dedicated group.”Phillips was joined by a large contingency of family and friends from the Milan, Missouri, area and from as far away as Texas, and attendees celebrated the occasion with a post-ceremony reception in the courthouse’s Bell Room.