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Kansas Judicial Branch

The Kansas Supreme Court
301 SW 10th Avenue
Topeka Kansas 66612-1507

Office of Judicial Administration
Fax:  785.296.7076
Email: info@kscourts.org

Appellate Clerk's Office
Fax:  785.296.1028
Email: appellateclerk@kscourts.org

The Kansas Supreme Court Nominating Process

Since 1959, the Supreme Court Nominating Commission has consisted of nonlawyers who are appointed by the governor and lawyers elected by lawyers, all of whom serve four-year terms. Each of Kansas' four congressional districts is represented by two peopleóone who is a lawyer and one who is not. The commission chair is a lawyer admitted to practice in Kansas who is elected by lawyers in a statewide election.

The commission requires applicants to apply in writing, to provide extensive personal information and to give samples of their legal writing. Names and cities of residence for all applicants are released to the media on the date of the application deadline.

The Supreme Court Nominating Commission conducts a preliminary review of applications and sets an interview schedule that is posted on the Judicial Branch website. Also posted are brief biographic summaries for each applicant. Members of the commission conduct reference and background checks on all applicants before they are interviewed

Applicant interviews take 20 to 30 minutes and are open to the public. Each interview begins with an opening statement by the applicant. Then, each commissioner gets an opportunity to ask the applicant questions. Although spectators may not ask questions, the commission accepts public comment until one week prior to interviews. Cameras, cell phones and other electronic devices are not allowed in the interview room.

Applicants are asked to not be present at interviews for other applicants for the same position. Similarly, applicants are asked to not seek or accept information regarding interview questions asked of other applicants.

Only when itís necessary to protect an applicantís privacy will the commission consider closing part of an interview, and then it requires a motion and majority vote by the commission.

The Supreme Court Nominating Commission recommends three persons to the governor for consideration. Their names are listed in alphabetical order to indicate that all are equally recommended by the commission as qualified for the position of justice on the Kansas Supreme Court. The governor then appoints one of these three people to fill the vacancy.