The Kansas Supreme Court Nominating Commission will be begin interviewing for Supreme Court justice position No. 7 (Moritz) on August 4-5. There are 14 applicants for this opening, with four Kansas Court of Appeal judges, three district court judges, and seven lawyers. For a full listing of applicants, please visit http://www.kscourts.org/pdf/listofapplicants.pdf
These applicants will be interviewed by the nine-member Nominating Commission. Attorneys in each of the state’s four congressional districts elects four Commission members, the governor appoints four non-attorneys, and the chair is elected by attorneys in a statewide vote. The Commission is an independent body created by the Kansas Constitution whose members are: Anne E. Burke, chair, Overland Park; David J. Rebein, Dodge City; Linda B. Weis, Manhattan; Natalie G. Haag, Topeka; Felita R. Kahrs, Topeka; Matthew D. Keenan, Leawood; Robert Hayworth, Shawnee Mission; Jay F. Fowler, Wichita; and Gary T. Mason, Maize.
After interviewing applicants, the Commission will submit names of three qualified individuals to the governor. The governor will then choose from that list who will fill position No. 7 on the Supreme Court.
These interviews are open to the public and the Court encourages any interested party to attend. Each interview will take approximately 30 minutes; the interviews will NOT be streamed live. Again, the interviews will take place on August 4-5 in Fatzer Courtroom.
This process is significantly different than the process used for the last Kansas Court of Appeal position. Under the Court of Appeal process, the governor nominates a candidate who is confirmed by the Kansas Senate. The list of applicants was not released and any prior interview conducted by the governor’s office was not made public. Prior to Senate confirmation, the candidate’s full application was reviewed by the Senate Judiciary Committee. This process did cause a bit of controversy as certain aspects of it were not made public. Here are a few old news articles on that topic.
Needless to say all eyes will be on the process to select a new Kansas Supreme Court justice.