Judge Van Amburg was appointed a circuit judge for the 22nd Judicial Circuit in 2003 and retained by the voters in 2004. She graduated from Washington University with a B.A. in 1970 and received her law degree from St. Louis University in 1975. After being admitted to the bar in 1975, Judge Van Amburg was a founding member of the first all-female law firm in St. Louis. She has worked for several law firms in general civil practice, concentrating in civil rights and employment law. Judge Van Amburg has also served as an adjunct law professor at Washington University and St. Louis University.
She has served as coach for high school mock trial teams and has served on the advisory board of the Center for Women in Transition and the Transcendental Stress Management Program for Offenders.
The committee reviewed survey responses from attorneys who have appeared before Judge Van Amburg and responded to questions rating Judge Van Amburg on a scale of 1 to 5, with “1” representing “not at all” and “5” representing “completely,” to each of 18 separate questions dealing with all aspects of judicial performance.
Judge Van Amburg received average rating scores above 4 on all questions, with her highest average rating scores of 4.53 for being prepared for hearings and trials and allowing parties latitude to present their arguments and 4.42 for treating people equally regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, economic status, or any other factor. Her lower average rating scores of 4.23 were for weighing all evidence fairly and impartially before rendering a decision and 4.24 for not affected by partisan considerations.
The committee also reviewed survey responses submitted by jurors who were seated in jury trials before Judge Van Amburg. Judge Van Amburg received an almost unanimously favorable response from the jurors on questions relating to 10 separate criteria for her conduct throughout the jury trials.
The committee has also reviewed a written opinion submitted by Judge Van Amburg that dealt with numerous issues of state and federal law, and found that the opinion was well-reasoned, clearly written and faithful to the state and federal case precedents and the Missouri Constitution, and that she exercised her judicial discretion in an appropriate manner.