Washington President Bush has nominated Wichita attorney Eric Melgren to serve as top federal prosecutor in Kansas.
The move was expected because Melgren is the choice of Republican Sen. Sam Brownback, and the president tends to follow the wishes of his party's senior senator. Melgren and Brownback are longtime friends.
In a statement issued Friday, Brownback called his friend "an honorable man with unquestioned integrity and professional experience."
Melgren is not commenting on his nomination while it is under consideration. But in a November interview with The Associated Press, he said: "One of the ironies of this may be that I've most often been involved in litigation against the government, and now I'll be representing them."
As a partner in the Wichita firm of Foulston Siefkin LLP, Melgren handles business-related issues including tax litigation.
If confirmed by the Senate, Melgren would be one of 93 U.S. attorneys, who serve as the nation's main litigators at the direction of the attorney general and at the discretion of the president.
Melgren, 44, had been considered for a federal judgeship but became a candidate for U.S. attorney after the first candidate dropped out.
Brownback's initial choice for the job was Republican former state Rep. Phill Kline, but Kline withdrew his nomination in September and is now running for Kansas attorney general.
Kline, who lost a high-profile congressional race in 2000, cited the months-long wait for confirmation as well as the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
Earlier, Brownback suggested Melgren as one of three candidates for an open federal judgeship in Kansas. But the administration chose Julie A. Robinson, a former federal bankruptcy judge.
Melgren holds a law degree from Washburn University and a bachelor's degree from Wichita State University, where he served as student body president the same year Brownback was student body president at Kansas State University.
After being admitted to the Kansas bar in 1985, Melgren served as a law clerk to U.S. District Judge Frank G. Theis until 1987.
Jim Flory, a Lawrence resident and former Douglas County district attorney, has been filling in as the interim U.S. attorney for Kansas.