Judge Dierker 'The Younger' sworn-in as associate circuit judge

Judge Catherine Dierker sworn-in as judge

ST. LOUIS - Associate Judge Catherine A. Dierker was sworn-in Friday, Dec. 1, 2023, as the 22nd Judicial Circuit court’s newest associate circuit judge. It marks the first time that a daughter of a St. Louis judge has been appointed to serve the same bench.

She took the oath of office from her father, retired St. Louis Circuit Judge Robert H. Dierker, who served the 22nd Judicial Circuit Court for decades. The younger Judge Dierker was appointed by Gov. Mike Parson in October to fill a vacancy created by the appointment of Lynne Perkins to the circuit bench.

On Friday, retired St. Louis Circuit Judge Julian Bush spoke at her swearing-in ceremony, reflecting on author Mark Twain’s wisdom in describing his expectations for the new judge: always do right. Gratify a few and astonish the rest.

“I am quite confident that Judge Dierker, the younger, will gratify many people during her career,” Bush said. “And I’m confident that she will astonish many people during the course of her career.”

The elder Dierker described his daughter as tenacious, with an anecdote from moments after her birth when a nurse wiped her face with gauze.

“Kate grabbed the gauze and held it and would not give it back,” he said. “In retrospect, I feel this foretold a very important feature of Kate’s character, which is determination. When Kate gets hold of something, she won’t let go. I think this grit has served Kate well in meeting many challenges over her life. And I think it will continue to serve her in her new role.

Retired Judge Robert Dierker hugs his daughter at her swearing-in“And I think it’s only fair to warn members of the bar that when Kate gets hold of something, she won’t let go,” her father continued. “She is no shrinking violet. So be prepared.”

At Friday’s ceremony, Judge Catherine Dierker said her inspiration to serve the public can best be explained through her interpretation of the image of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples on Holy Thursday.

“What that image expresses to me is that there’s very little meaning or value or goodness in authority and power if there is not also a spirit of service and humility and self-giving,” she said.

She thanked her colleagues, family and mentors for helping to shape that reality for her and said she is grateful for the chance to serve.

“I will strive to be a servant in this role and to continue to humble myself,” she said. “And it’s because of this recognition of the strength in gentleness and the power of humility and service.”

Photo: Retired Judge Robert Dierker hugs his daughter at her swearing-in (Photo by Joel Currier)