Topeka Three lower court judges have made the final cut of nominees to fill an upcoming vacancy on the Kansas Supreme Court, the second of three that Gov. Bill Graves will fill before leaving office.
Nominated to replace retiring Justice Fred Six are Shawnee County Judge Marla Luckert, 47; Riley County District Judge David L. Stutzman, 51; and Miami County District Judge Stephen D. Hill, 51.
Six, 73, of rural Lawrence, was appointed to the court in 1988 by Gov. Mike Hayden.
Graves has 60 days to make the appointment, or until Jan. 17. That would be four days after Gov.-elect Kathleen Sebelius takes office. However, Graves is expected to make his decision before leaving office, as well as name a replacement for Justice Tyler Lockett, who also is retiring in January.
Lockett, 69, was appointed to the court in 1983 by Gov. John Carlin.
The Supreme Court Nominating Commission will submit three more names to Graves for consideration for Lockett's replacement once he names a justice to replace Six.
The nine-member panel is comprised of a lawyer and nonlawyer from each of the four congressional districts, plus an attorney selected by the Kansas Bar Assn. who serves as chairman.
In October, Justice Lawton Nuss, 49, was sworn in by Chief Justice Kay McFarland. Nuss, of Salina, replaced Edward Larson, who retired in September.
Luckert was a finalist with Nuss to fill Larson's vacancy. She has been chief judge of the 3rd Judicial District in Shawnee County since 2000, and a district judge since April 1992.
Luckert's work includes ruling in the 2001 case of a former Kansas Lottery employee Richard Lee Knowlton, who was convicted of altering lottery tickets.
Stutzman has been a district judge since Jan. 24, 1997. He recently presided over a lawsuit between Kansas State University and Morris Communications about broadcasting rights to Wildcat football games.
Hill has been a district judge since 1981 and chief judge of the 6th Judicial District since 1990.