Friends and admirers of Lawrence attorney Steve Six will applaud the nomination of the former Kansas attorney general as a member of the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Six was nominated last week by President Barack Obama to fill the vacancy on the court caused by the retirement of another Lawrence resident, Deanell Tacha, who soon will take over as dean of the law school at Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif.
In making the nomination, Obama said, “Steve Six has distinguished himself as a first-rate jurist with unflagging integrity and evenhandedness. I’m grateful for his service to the state of Kansas and look forward to adding his considerable wisdom and experience to the 10th Circuit Court.”
Six was a Douglas County district judge from 2005 to 2008, when he was appointed by Gov. Kathleen Sebelius as attorney general, filling the vacancy left by the resignation of Paul Morrison. His 2010 election bid to remain in office failed and he recently joined the Lawrence law firm of Stevens & Brand.
While serving as attorney general, Six refused to join a lawsuit filed by more than 20 other state attorneys general challenging the constitutionality of the Obama health care program. Would Obama have nominated Six if he had joined the other attorneys general in opposing the president’s health plan?
Raw politics plays a major role in the nomination and eventual confirmation of U.S. Supreme Court justices and members of the federal Court of Appeals. During the most recent Bush administration with Democrats holding strong majorities in both houses, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee refused to allow a vote on many of Bush’s nominees for the Court of Appeals. According to the U.S. Courts’ website, as of Thursday, 45 nominees for federal judicial positions were awaiting confirmation.
On Thursday, Kansas’ two Republican senators, Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran, both offered their congratulations to Six and said they were looking forward to the Senate confirmation hearings, but did not say whether they would support his appointment.
With Democrats still in control of the Senate, unless Roberts and Moran object to Six’s nomination, it looks as if Six will have clear sailing for confirmation to the prestigious and important Court of Appeals slot.