Kansas Judicial Branch Home
Appellate Clerk
Kansas Judicial Branch

Nominating Commissions

Supreme Court

The Supreme Court Nominating Commission is an independent body created by the Kansas Constitution (Art. 3, 5(g)) and governed by K.S.A. 20-119 (et seq.)

The commission has nine members. The governor appoints four of the commission's members and they are not attorneys; four other members are attorneys selected by attorneys in each of the state's four congressional districts. The commission chair is an attorney elected in a statewide vote by eligible Kansas attorneys.

The commission is responsible for recommending qualified individuals to appoint to the Kansas Supreme Court. The commission reviews applications and conducts public interviews of candidates, after which it sends names of three qualified individuals to the governor for the vacancy.

The governor interviews the candidates and makes the appointment. Justices stand for retention vote every six years.

Court of Appeals

Beginning July 1, 2013, appointments to the Court of Appeals are made by the governor and require confirmation by a majority vote of the Senate. Prior to July 1, 2013, the governor made the appointment by selecting one of three qualified individuals similar to the current process of the Supreme Court Nominating Commission. Judges stand for retention vote every four years.

Judicial Districts

District court judges are selected in one of two ways in Kansas: merit selection and retention vote; or, by partisan ballot. In some districts, voters have approved nonpartisan merit selection of judges. In other districts, judges run for office on a partisan ballot. Judges serve four-year terms..

Learn More: Process for Judicial Candidates to File for Retention or Partisan Election

When a vacancy occurs in a merit selection district, a judicial nominating commission interviews candidates and recommends three, four or five persons to the governor for consideration. The governor then appoints one of these as a judge to fill the vacancy. When there is a vacancy in a district magistrate judgeship, the district judicial nominating commission selects a candidate to fill the vacancy. All district judges appointed via merit selection stand for retention vote every four years beginning with the first general election after they have been in office for one year.

Judicial nominating commissions are made up of attorneys and nonattorneys who live in the district. Attorney members of a judicial district nominating commission are elected by fellow attorneys in that judicial district, while nonattorney members are appointed by the local county commissions. Following are links for each of the judicial districts that use the merit selection process for selecting judges.

Judicial District Nominating Commissions' Links
1st Judicial District
(Atchison & Leavenworth)
7th Judicial District
21st Judicial District
(Clay, Riley )
2nd Judicial District
(Jackson, Jefferson,
Pottawatomie, Wabaunsee)
8th Judicial District
(Dickinson, Geary,
Marion, Morris)
25th Judicial District
(Finney, Greeley, Hamilton, Kearny, Scott, Wichita)
3rd Judicial District
9th Judicial District
(Harvey, McPherson)
28th Judicial District
(Ottawa & Saline)
4th Judicial District
(Anderson, Coffey,
Franklin, Osage )
10th Judicial District
30th Judicial District
(Barber, Harper, Kingman, Pratt, Sumner)
5th Judicial District
(Chase, Lyon)
11th Judicial District
(Cherokee, Crawford, Labette)
31st Judicial District
(Allen, Neosho, Wilson, Woodson)
6th Judicial District
(Bourbon, Linn, Miami)
12th Judicial District
(Cloud, Jewell, Lincoln, Mitchell, Republic, Washington)