Top Kansas court asked to say who names judge

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TOPEKA — Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt is asking the state Supreme Court to decide whether Gov. Laura Kelly can nominate a new judge to the state Court of Appeals.

Schmidt filed a petition Monday with the Supreme Court for a ruling on whether Kelly nominates the new judge or whether the nomination must be made by Supreme Court Chief Justice Lawton Nuss.

Kelly is moving ahead with plans to nominate a new Kansas Court of Appeals judge despite the dispute over whether she has the authority to do it.

The governor said Monday that the vacancy on the state’s second-highest court needs to be filled and the Republican-controlled Legislature should clarify the law on appointing judges.

Kelly withdrew her first choice of Labette County District Judge Jeffry Jack last month because of political posts on Jack’s Twitter feed in 2017.

Senate President Susan Wagle says because Kelly withdrew Jack’s nomination, she missed a deadline for making the nomination and it now falls to Nuss under a 2013 law. Kelly contends Wagle is incorrect.

Kelly announced last week that she’s considering three candidates. Wagle called it “a blatant disrespect” for the law.

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