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Supreme Court Nominating Commission Accepting Applications for December Court Vacancy

Thursday, October 17, 2019  
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The Supreme Court Nominating Commission is seeking nominees to fill a vacancy on the Kansas Supreme Court created by the December 17 retirement of Chief Justice Lawton Nuss.

Nuss' retirement triggers a merit-based nomination process that Kansans voted to add to the Kansas Constitution in 1958.

When there is a vacancy on the court, the Supreme Court Nominating Commission reviews applications and conducts public interviews of nominees. The commission narrows the nominee pool to three names that it sends to the governor. The governor chooses one nominee to appoint.

To be eligible, a nominee must be:

  • at least 30 years old;
  • a lawyer admitted to practice in Kansas and engaged in the practice of law for at least 10 years, whether as a lawyer, judge, or full-time teacher at an accredited law school.

The application form is available online at under “What’s New” or from the clerk of the appellate courts in the Kansas Judicial Center in Topeka.

Only applications submitted on the application form will be accepted. An original and one copy of the application must be received by the clerk of the appellate courts' office by noon Monday, November 18, 2019.

Applications may be hand delivered or submitted by mail to:

Douglas T. Shima
Clerk of the Appellate Courts
Kansas Judicial Center
301 SW 10th Ave., Room 107
Topeka KS 66612-1507

Applications will not be accepted by fax or email.

The nominating commission will announce when it will convene to interview applicants. Interviews are open to the public.

The Supreme Court Nominating Commission has nine members. There is one lawyer and one nonlawyer from each of the state’s four congressional districts, plus one lawyer who serves as chairperson. Nonlawyers are appointed by the governor. Lawyers are elected by other lawyers within their congressional districts. The chairperson is elected by lawyers statewide.

When the Supreme Court Nominating Commission reviews applicants for the Supreme Court, they look at the person’s:

  • legal and judicial experience
  • educational background
  • character and ethics
  • temperament
  • service to the community
  • impartiality
  • respect of colleagues

Justices must follow the law and not be influenced by politics, special interest groups, public opinion, or their own personal beliefs.

Justices demonstrate their accountability by following a Code of Judicial Conduct that establishes standards of ethical behavior. They also take an oath of office that includes swearing to support, protect, and defend the U.S. Constitution and Kansas Constitution.

After a new justice serves one year on the court, he or she must stand for a retention vote in the next general election to remain in the position. If retained, the justice serves a six-year term.

State of Kansas
Office of Judicial Administration
Kansas Judicial Center
301 SW 10th Avenue
Topeka, KS 66612-1507

Contact Us

T 316.263.2251
F 316.263.0629

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Wichita Bar Association
225 N. Market, Suite 200
Wichita, KS 67202