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Steve Bough investiture ceremony attracts who’s who of KC and MO legal community

Steve Bough took the ceremonial oath of office Wednesday as a federal judge for the Western District of Missouri before a healthy sampling of Kansas City lawyers, friends and fellow judges.

“This will forever change the life of my family,” the one-time Republic, Mo., resident told an overflow crowd at the UMKC Law School.

Among those attending were Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill, who sponsored Bough’s nomination and hustled it through the Senate on the last roll call vote before the Christmas recess, Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, Mayor Sly James and former Mayor Kay Barnes.

In remarks from several officials, Bough was hailed for his integrity, fairness, compassion and well-known ability to make friends.

“He’s exactly the type of judge we need,” said the Rev. Carla Aday of Country Club Christian Church who gave the invocation.

Cleaver told the audience that Bough knows how to combine justice and mercy. Nancy Levit, a UMKC law professor, described Bough as “tenacious about seeing justice done.”

Said James to the new judge, “You’re a good man.”

Attorney Kent Emison recalled the time he tried a long case with Bough that tested the jury’s patience. To enliven their experience, jurors linked the lawyers in the case to well-known characters. Bough, who wears dark glasses a la Clark Kent, was linked to Superman, and Emison presented Bough with a large portrait of himself in a Superman outfit.

McCaskill told the audience that getting 51 votes for Bough, a former Jackson County Democratic chair, was tough. But she also said, “The best things in life are worth fighting for.”

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