UPDATE: Governor Nominates Top Lawyer For Kansas Appeals Court

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has nominated his chief counsel for the state Court of Appeals.

Brownback announced the nomination of Caleb Stegall Tuesday. The Senate must confirm the nomination. It will convene for a special legislative session Sept. 3.

Stegall is best known for defending American missionaries who were detained in Haiti after trying to remove 33 children they mistakenly believed had been orphaned in the country's 2010 earthquake.

His nomination to the state's second-highest court is likely to draw criticism from the governor's opponents, especially as it is Brownback's first appointment to a judgeship without screening by lawyers.

Brownback's office released endorsement letters from a bipartisan group of lawyers, including former Kansas Attorney General Steve Six, a Democrat who faced Stegall in abortion-related litigation.

Republican Gov. Sam Brownback's choice to fill a vacancy on the Kansas Court of Appeals is thanking Democrats for supporting his nomination to the bench.

Caleb Stegall, a Republican, says Tuesday he received support from prominent Democrats, including former Attorney General Steve Six and Lawrence attorney Dan Watkins. Six and Stegall have been on opposite sides of abortion litigation.

Stegall was introduced by Brownback during a Statehouse news conference. The Senate will have to confirm his nomination.

Last year the nominating commission passed over Stegall for two vacancies on the Court of Appeals. When lawmakers created a 14th judgeship on the court this year, speculation immediately centered on Stegall as the leading candidate.

Previous story:

Republican Gov. Sam Brownback is preparing to announce his choice of a new judge for the Kansas Court of Appeals.

Brownback scheduled a news conference Tuesday in Topeka to introduce his nominee, who will need confirmation by the state Senate.

It is Brownback's first appointment to the Court of Appeals under a new procedure approved by legislators and signed into law earlier this year. The governor chose from among applicants interviewed by his administration.

Under the old system -- still in place for the Kansas Supreme Court -- a nominating commission screened applicants and named three finalists, with no role for lawmakers after the governor's appointment.

Senators will consider the appointment when they meet Sept. 3 in a special session to address the state's "Hard 50" sentencing law.

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