Gov. Sam Brownback’s former legal counsel seeks post on Kansas Supreme Court

07/10/2014 4:15 PM

07/10/2014 8:18 PM

The former legal counsel for Gov. Sam Brownback headlines a list of 14 candidates seeking a vacancy on the Kansas Supreme Court.

Kansas Court of Appeals Judge Caleb Stegall is seeking to fill the seat that opened when Nancy Moritz was appointed to the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.

Other prominent applicants include Kansas Bar Association president Dennis Depew of Neodesha, Kansas Court of Appeals Judge Karen Arnold-Burger of Overland Park and Kansas Court of Appeals Judge Anthony Powell, a former Wichita legislator.

Stegall has been a judge less than a year. Brownback nominated him for a seat on the Kansas Court of Appeals. He was sworn into that position at the start of this year after serving as the governor’s legal counsel since 2011.

Stegall is a 1993 graduate of Geneva College, a Christian liberal arts school in Beaver Falls, Pa. He graduated from the University of Kansas Law School in 1999, ranking third in a class of 187.

He went on to clerk for the chief judge of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and was hired as an associate at the Foulston Siefkin law firm.

He later was elected Jefferson County attorney.

Stegall has been open about his opposition to abortion, a nearly perennial issue in Kansas courts.

Stegall also defended Phill Kline, a former Kansas attorney general and Johnson County district attorney, in legal disputes over his handling of the investigation of Planned Parenthood in Overland Park.

The Supreme Court nominating commission, made up of lawyers and non-lawyers, will screen the candidates and recommend three to Brownback to choose from for the court. The committee will interview the candidates Aug. 4 and 5 in Topeka.

Other candidates seeking the job are lawyer Victor Braden of Lawrence, Judge Daniel Creitz of Erie, lawyer Linda Kirby of Wichita, lawyer David Klaassen of Marquette, Kansas Court of Appeals Judge Thomas Malone of Topeka, lawyer Anthony Mattivi of Topeka, Judge Steven Montgomery of Spring Hill, lawyer Steven Obermeier of Olathe, lawyer Curtis Roggow of Shawnee and Judge Merlin Wheeler of Emporia.

To reach Brad Cooper, call 816-234-7724 or send email to bcooper@kcstar.com.

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