TOPEKA — Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has nominated his chief counsel for the state Court of Appeals.
Brownback announced the nomination of Caleb Stegall Tuesday. The Senate must confirm the nomination. It will convene for a special legislative session Sept. 3.
Stegall is best known for defending American missionaries who were detained in Haiti after trying to remove 33 children they mistakenly believed had been orphaned in the country's 2010 earthquake.
His nomination to the state's second-highest court is likely to draw criticism from the governor's opponents, especially as it is Brownback's first appointment to a judgeship without screening by lawyers.
Brownback's office released endorsement letters from a bipartisan group of lawyers, including former Kansas Attorney General Steve Six, a Democrat who faced Stegall in abortion-related litigation.
Stegall, a Republican, says Tuesday he received support from prominent Democrats, including former Attorney General Steve Six and Lawrence attorney Dan Watkins. Six and Stegall have been on opposite sides of abortion litigation.
Stegall was introduced by Brownback during a Statehouse news conference. The Senate will have to confirm his nomination.
Last year the nominating commission passed over Stegall for two vacancies on the Court of Appeals. When lawmakers created a 14th judgeship on the court this year, speculation immediately centered on Stegall as the leading candidate.