Prestigious appointment

It appears one Lawrence resident may replace another on the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.

March 14, 2011


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.


cato_the_elder 7 years, 2 months ago

Steve Six has strong support on both sides of the aisle in Kansas, which should translate into his receiving the appointment by the U.S. Senate despite the long-standing, intense politicization of this process.

KoolaidFree 7 years, 2 months ago

Where do you get the data to make this assumption? i certainly haven't seen it.

And his support only comes from the liberal side of the aisle. I know of no conservatives supporting Six.

cato_the_elder 7 years, 2 months ago

Well, you now know one. I can assure you that there are many others.

Paul R Getto 7 years, 2 months ago

Good luck, General Six. You will do a fine job.

BigPrune 7 years, 2 months ago

Has a Native American ever been appointed before to such a presitgious position?

littlexav 7 years, 2 months ago

there have been two native american federal court judges. see: (http://bit.ly/gPbZzU).

i am assuming that of the relatively few native american jurists, many probably choose to participate in the tribal court system, which constitutionally ranks on par with the federal court system, or to remain in private practice.

Rex Russell 7 years, 2 months ago

Met him severable times. Mr. Six is personable and oozes responsible, sensible, and reasonable. But in my opinion, his greatest asset is his apolitical attitude. Very refreshing in today's politically rabid atmosphere.

Uhlrick_Hetfield_III 7 years, 2 months ago

Six is nothing if not political. That's why Sebelius appointed him to take over for Morrison. That's also why Obama is trying to appoint him. As AG, Six, among other things, refused to join the lawsuit against Obama's healthcare legislation. He's a reliable liberal vote on the bench, just as was a solid liberal bulwark as AG.

Uhlrick_Hetfield_III 7 years, 2 months ago

His appointment, incidentally, will make both Roberts and Moran look like useless fools with their base if they allow his nomination to go forward. Kansans for Life and Operation Rescue will both go after this nomination. How out of touch will Roberts and Moran look if they're not even aware of what their base is thinking?

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