A Lawrence attorney who was nominated Tuesday by President Bush to be a federal district judge in Kansas says there's only one other job he might like better.
"I can't think of any other job, other than being the KU basketball coach. That I would consider leaving my law practice to take," John Lungstrum said today, laughing.
Lungstrum said that he was "very honored" by the nomination to the federal bench.
"I'm obviously very honored by the confidence that President Bush has placed in me, and I am thrilled," Lungstrum said.
Lungstrum, who has been an attorney in Lawrence for 18 years, said he received a telephone call from Bush on Monday informing him he was the president's choice for the job.
"We put it on the speaker phone and all the office staff came in and listened to it," Lungstrum said. "It was very casual."
IF CONFIRMED by the Senate, Lungstrum, 45, would fill a vacancy created on the court in November when U.S. District Judge Dale Saffels took senior status and less of a caseload.
"The next step is some point in time there will be a hearing in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which will be their formal opportunity to ask me questions," Lungstrum said. "That will probably be in September."
Lungstrum said he has long aspired to be a judge on the federal bench.
"I'm a lawyer who has spent most of my time doing litigation," he said. "As such, the federal trial bench is one of those that practicing trial lawyers look to as one of the most interesting and rewarding jobs one can have in the legal system. It's a hands-on job."
Lungstrum said that he has been told he likely would be posted in Kansas City, Kan. He said he will continue to live in Lawrence. Lungstrum said that after his name was placed in nomination several months ago, the Justice Department had been looking into his background.
He said he had been notified to expect a telephone call from the president sometime this week. However, he said he was expecting it to come Tuesday. Because it came on Monday, his daughter, Alison, 9, was not at the office and missed the call.
"He surprised me by calling a day early," Lungstrum said.
"MY FAMILY is excited for me," he said. "I'll have to commute and that will be a change in my lifestyle. My family has been very supportive and they are thrilled."
Lungstrum's son, Justin, 18, graduated from Lawrence High School last year and is going to Yale in the fall. His other daughter, Jordan, 15, a sophomore at LHS.
Lungstrum's wife, Linda, is an Emporia native and a 1969 KU graduate.
Lungstrum graduated from Yale in 1967 and from the Kansas University School of Law in 1970. After practicing law in California and spending a short time in the military, he came to Lawrence in December 1972.
Since then, Lungstrum has practiced law and taught classes on evidence, civil procedure, contracts and trial advocacy at KU.