Topeka Gov. Kathleen Sebelius on Friday appointed Douglas County District Judge Stephen Six as the next attorney general to replace Paul Morrison, who will leave office amid a sex and ethics scandal.
"I'm confident that in Judge Six, the people of Kansas have an attorney general dedicated to ensuring that the people's law firm is led both effectively and responsibly with character and integrity," Sebelius said in introducing Six to a packed news conference in the Capitol.
Six, 42, the son of retired Kansas Supreme Court Justice Fred Six, promised "to serve with integrity as an independent representative of the people of Kansas."
He will take office Jan. 31 to finish the three years left in Morrison's term.
Six, a Democrat, deflected questions about whether he will run for election in 2010.
"Today is not the day to talk politics. I plan to get to work," he said.
Sebelius said he hoped Six will stand for election, but said the immediate concern was to stabilize the attorney general's office.
"The office has been through some turmoil," she said.
Morrison, the current attorney general, has acknowledged having an extramarital affair with Linda Carter, the former director of administration for the Johnson County District Attorney's Office. Before winning election in 2006, Morrison was the Johnson County district attorney and Carter's supervisor.
Carter also has accused Morrison of sexual harassment and professional misconduct. Morrison has denied those charges but faces several investigations.
Kansas Republican Party executive director Christian Morgan said he didn't know much about Six.
"I'm honestly just glad that the governor finally came around, found some time between Vogue photo shoots and Washington, D.C., cocktail parties to make an appointment," Morgan said.
Meanwhile, Douglas County officials praised Six's appointment.
"He is a person of enormous integrity," said state Rep. Paul Davis, D-Lawrence. "He is one of the best legal minds in Kansas, and I think that he is going to restore some very much needed stability in that office," Davis said.
Six grew up in Lawrence and earned his law degree at Kansas University, graduating second in his class. He clerked for U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Deanell Tacha, a Lawrence resident.
He and his wife, Betsy, a lecturer at the KU Law School, have four children, ages 9, 8, 5 and 2.
In 2005, Six was appointed to the bench by Sebelius. Before being named a judge, Six was a plaintiff's attorney in the firm of Shamberg, Johnson & Bergman in Kansas City, Mo.
Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson praised Six's legal knowledge.
"He has an incredibly sharp legal mind," Branson said.
Lawrence attorney Dan Watkins said Six has succeeded in many areas. "He has a track record of getting up to speed in a hurry and doing very well at whatever he takes on," he said.