Archive for Thursday, December 5, 2002

Lawrence judge to join high court

December 5, 2002

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— Gov. Bill Graves on Wednesday appointed Robert L. Gernon of Lawrence to the Kansas Supreme Court.

Currently a judge on the Kansas Court of Appeals, Gernon will replace Justice Tyler Lockett, who is retiring.

"I would describe myself as a judge who looks at every case one at a time, tries to master the facts involved, look up what the law is and apply the law to that set of facts, and come up with a result that makes sense," Gernon said at a Capitol news conference with Graves.

The judge said he tried to write opinions plainly, noting that he had an English teacher at Kansas University who said, "You should write not so much to be understood as to not be misunderstood."

Graves said of Gernon: "He just has always struck me as a person who always had the right temperament, the right personality, the right background and skills to make an excellent member of the Supreme Court."

Gernon, 59, grew up in Brown County, received his undergraduate degree from Kansas University and law degree from Washburn University. He is president of the Friends of the KU Law Library.

Before being named to the state appeals court in 1998 by Gov. Mike Hayden, Gernon worked as a private attorney, assistant district attorney and district judge.

He said moving from the appeals court to the state Supreme Court was like changing rafts.

Incoming Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger, left, newly
appointed State Supreme Court Justice Robert L. Gernon, center, and
Gov. Bill Graves share a laugh after a news conference. Graves
announced the appointment of Gernon, a Lawrence resident, to the
Kansas Supreme Court on Wednesday at the Statehouse in Topeka.
Praeger congratulated Gernon, a friend since college, after the
news conference.

Incoming Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger, left, newly appointed State Supreme Court Justice Robert L. Gernon, center, and Gov. Bill Graves share a laugh after a news conference. Graves announced the appointment of Gernon, a Lawrence resident, to the Kansas Supreme Court on Wednesday at the Statehouse in Topeka. Praeger congratulated Gernon, a friend since college, after the news conference.

"It's a little bit scary, but it's the right thing to do," he said.

With the selection, Graves finishes filling three recent vacancies on the state high court before he leaves office Jan. 13.

Graves said Gernon's experience on the appeals court helped provide a mix of legal backgrounds to the three new appointees.

In August, the governor appointed Lawton Nuss, a Salina attorney, to the court, and he named Marla Luckert, a Shawnee County district judge, to the court in November. Luckert is the replacement for Justice Fred Six of Lawrence, who is retiring. Luckert and Gernon will be sworn in Jan. 13.

Finding a replacement for Gernon on the appeals court will be Gov.-elect Kathleen Sebelius' job.

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