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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

You and the Courts of Kansas - Becoming a Judge

The Supreme Court is Kansas’ highest court. It consists of seven justices who are selected by the governor. When there is a Supreme Court vacancy, the governor chooses from a list of three qualified candidates provided by the Supreme Court Nominating Commission.

After the first year in office, a justice is subject to a retention vote in the next general election. If a majority of electors vote to retain the justice, he or she remains in office for a six-year term. Justices are subject to a similar retention vote at the conclusion of each term.

The justice who is senior in terms of continuous service is designated, by the Kansas Constitution, the chief justice, unless he or she declines or resigns the position. The chief justice exercises the administrative authority of the court.

Before July 1, 2013, Court of Appeals judges were selected in the same manner as Supreme Court justices. However, 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.

The Court of Appeals has 14 judges who serve four-year terms. The Supreme Court appoints who on the Court of Appeals will be chief judge.

Judges of the district court are selected in one of two ways: 1) by merit selection and retention vote; or 2) by partisan ballot. In some districts, voters approved nonpartisan merit selection for judges. In the other districts, judges run for office on a partisan ballot. Judges serve four-year terms.

In merit selection districts, when there is a vacancy in a district judgeship, a judicial nominating commission interviews candidates and recommends two or three candidates to the governor and the governor appoints one 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. Judicial nominating commissions are made up of lawyers and nonlawyers who live in the district.