St. Louis Circuit Judge Craig Higgins sworn-in

Judge Craig K. Higgins, right, is sworn-in by U.S. Magistrate Judge David Noce. Higgins’ son CJ Higgins (center), holds a bible for his father during the ceremony Oct. 27, 2022, at Windows on Washington in downtown St. Louis.

St. Louis, please welcome your newest circuit judge, Craig K. Higgins!

Higgins was sworn in at a Thursday afternoon ceremony at Windows on Washington in downtown St. Louis. More than 100 colleagues, family and friends attended as Higgins took the oath of office, administered by U.S. Magistrate Judge David Noce.

Instead of a traditional acceptance speech, Higgins took the opportunity to acknowledge his son and that of his colleague, Judge Nicole Colbert-Botchway. Their sons, both of whom attended Thursday’s ceremony, are students at the Collegiate School of Medicine and Bioscience that shares a campus with Central Visual and Performing Arts High School where a gunman Monday fatally shot two people and wounded several others.

“These two young men had to endure that day,” Higgins said. “And so, that, to me, is a profile in courage for these young men to have to endure that day, and I want to make certain that their bravery should be acknowledged.”

He told the crowd he was on his bench Monday morning when he began receiving texts about an intruder on the shared campus. He said he did his best to remain calm in the courtroom. Colbert-Botchway offered to pick up his son for him but Higgins soon learned his wife was already on her way to get him.

“Growing up in the 70s, back then, your neighbors looked after your kids,” he said. “And so, for what Judge Botchway was doing took me back to that time where neighbors were watching out for kids.”

He said the sense of community is something he and Colbert-Botchway are working to instill in their children.

“These are things, why, and all of other judges in this room, why we are doing this job,” he said. “We love our community. We believe that we need to maintain our community to be safe, but we also believe in justice and the rule of law. And this is why we do this job.”

Higgins grew up in north St Louis, graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia and Drake University’s law school. He later worked for the City Counselor’s Office for more than two decades. Gov. Mike Parson appointed Higgins in July to fill a vacancy left by Circuit Judge James Sullivan, who retired. Higgins had served as an associate circuit judge in St. Louis since 2019.