Government & Politics

Trump picks state solicitor general, KU law professor for U.S. attorney for Kansas

President Donald Trump has nominated Stephen McAllister (above), Kansas solicitor general, to serve as U.S. attorney of Kansas. In this file photo, McAllister argues a case in Shawnee County District Court in 2012.
President Donald Trump has nominated Stephen McAllister (above), Kansas solicitor general, to serve as U.S. attorney of Kansas. In this file photo, McAllister argues a case in Shawnee County District Court in 2012. AP

President Donald Trump has tapped Kansas’ solicitor general to serve as the next U.S. attorney for Kansas.

Stephen McAllister, a University of Kansas law professor and former dean, has served as the state’s solicitor general since 2007. During that time, he has represented the state in an ongoing case concerning the adequacy of Kansas school funding and successfully argued death penalty cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.

The pick of McAllister was applauded by U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, a Kansas Republican who noted McAllister’s experience as a clerk for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas in the early 1990s.

“Mr. McAllister is a well-qualified and impressive nominee who has my full support to serve Kansans as U.S. Attorney,” Roberts said in a statement. “He has extensive legal experience in state and federal courts, including arguing nine cases before the Supreme Court of the United States, where he once served as a clerk to Justice Clarence Thomas.”

U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, a Kansas Republican, similarly praised McAllister’s “bright legal mind and his litigation experience.”

McAllister could not be reached for comment Friday.

If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, he will succeed acting U.S. Attorney Tom Beall as the top federal law enforcement official in the state.

Beall had been serving in the role since 2016 when U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom stepped down to take a job at a Kansas City law firm.

McAllister faced controversy in 2016 when he co-authored a brief in an abortion case that cited the infamous Dred Scott decision as support for the state’s argument.

Attorney General Derek Schmidt quickly apologized for the citation of the pre-Civil War ruling — usually considered the worst decision in the history of Supreme Court — that found that black people whose ancestors had been slaves could not be U.S. citizens.

The Star’s Hunter Woodall contributed to this report.

Bryan Lowry: 816-234-4077, @BryanLowry3

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