Topeka A member of a judicial nominating commission that failed to advance Caleb Stegall's name for Kansas Court of Appeals openings twice last year said Wednesday that Stegall was overlooked because of politics.
Felita Kahrs said in a letter to Gov. Sam Brownback that Stegall's references and interviews were exemplary.
"It is my opinion that Caleb was one of the top candidates that appeared before the Commission but due to politics, his name was not submitted," Kahrs wrote.
Kahrs, who was appointed to the nominating commission by Brownback, did not elaborate, and attempts to reach her at her Washington, D.C.-area job were not immediately successful.
On Tuesday, Brownback nominated Stegall to the Kansas Court of Appeals. Stegall, who is Brownback's chief counsel, was overlooked by the nominating commission last year, but this year, at Brownback's behest, Republicans in the Legislature changed the law so that Brownback could make nominations to the Court of Appeals with Senate approval.
Prior to the change, the nominating commission took applications, screened and interviewed candidates and forwarded three names to the governor to pick from.
The nominating commission still exists to handle vacancies on the Kansas Supreme Court. Brownback has said he would like to change the Supreme Court selection process, too, but that would require a change in the Kansas Constitution.