Supreme Court Nominating Commission accepting nominations for upcoming court vacancy

The Supreme Court Nominating Commission is seeking nominations to fill a vacancy on the Kansas Supreme Court created by the September 8 retirement of Justice Lee Johnson.

Johnson's 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 bench, 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 nomination form is available online at under “What’s New” or from the clerk of the appellate courts in the Kansas Judicial Center in Topeka. Only nominations submitted on the nomination form will be accepted. An original and one copy of the nomination must be received by the clerk of the appellate courts' office by noon, Tuesday, September 3, 2019.

Nominations 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 Nominations will not be accepted by fax or email.

The nominating commission will announce when it will convene to interview nominees. 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 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.

Mary Shultz