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1900 E Morris St, Wichita, KS 67211


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Supreme Court Nominating Commission sends names
of nominees to governor

TOPEKA — The Supreme Court Nominating Commission today sent the names of three nominees  for Supreme Court justice to Gov. Laura Kelly, who has 60 days to decide who will fill the vacancy created by the September 8 retirement of Justice Lee Johnson.

 

The three candidates are Dennis Depew and Steven Obermeier, who both work for the Kansas Attorney General's Office, and Evelyn Wilson, who is chief judge of the 3rd Judicial District, composed of Shawnee County.

 

Depew, Neodesha, has worked for the Kansas Attorney General's Office since 2015 and currently is deputy attorney general and chief of the civil litigation division. He previously was an attorney and partner in Depew Law Firm, Neodesha, for nearly 32 years. He graduated from the University of Kansas School of Law in 1983. He received a bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Kansas and an associate degree from Independence Community College.

 

Obermeier, Olathe, has been assistant solicitor general for the Kansas Attorney General's Office since 2017. He was in private practice for a year after working for the Johnson County district attorney's office for 31 years. He graduated from Washburn University School of Law in 1982. He received bachelor's degrees in journalism and political science from the University of Kansas.

 

Wilson, Topeka, has been a judge in the 3rd Judicial District, composed of Shawnee County, since 2004 and the district's chief judge since 2014. She was managing partner of Wright Henson Somers Sebelius Clark & Baker, Topeka, where she worked from 1992 to 2004. She was an adjunct professor at Washburn University School of Law from 2001 to 2004. She also was in private practice for seven years in Oberlin. She graduated from Washburn University School of Law in 1985 and received a bachelor's degree in business and economics from Bethany College.

 

The commission interviewed 19 applicants October 17 and 18 in the Kansas Judicial Center in Topeka. A 20th candidate withdrew his application before the interviews took place.

 

All interviews were open to the public.

 

Supreme Court justices are appointed through 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 has 60 days from the date the vacancy occurs to submit names of three qualified nominees to the governor.

 

After receiving the list of nominees, the governor has 60 days to appoint one of them to the court.

 

The commission announces when it is accepting nominations, and it releases the names of who is being considered based on the nominations received.

 

The commission reviews the nominees' qualifications and conducts public interviews of the nominees. Through this process, the commission decides which three nominees to recommend to the governor.

 

To be eligible, a nominee must be:

  • at least 30 years old; and

  • 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 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 nominees 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
785-296-2256
www.kscourts.org

Posted October 21 2019

Supreme Court Nominating Commission accepting
applications for December court vacancy

 

TOPEKA—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 www.kscourts.org 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
785-296-2256
www.kscourts.org

Posted October 17 2019