Topeka Last week, legislators confirmed Caleb Stegall to the Kansas Court of Appeals under a new appointment system.
But it was announced Wednesday that Stegall won’t be sworn in to the court until Jan. 3.
Stegall and the court agreed to the delay “to meet budgeting and office remodeling requirements,” according to a news release from the Kansas Court of Appeals.
When lawmakers finished their annual session in June, they and court officials didn’t anticipate the new judge’s confirmation by the Senate until January, and they budgeted that way. But the Legislature had a special session last week to repair a murder sentencing law, and senators were legally obligated to consider Stegall’s appointment then.
“We had no idea there would be a special session,” said Ron Keefover, a spokesman for the state court system.
Keefover said the judicial branch also must remodel several small, vacant offices at the Kansas Judicial Center near the Statehouse to create a new Court of Appeals judge’s suite. The renovated space won’t be available until January.
Stegall is filling a new, 14th seat on the state’s second-highest court. The total annual cost of the new judge’s office, which will include an assistant and two research attorneys, is expected to be $420,000.
Stegall was nominated to the court by Gov. Sam Brownback and confirmed by the Senate. He was supported by Republicans and opposed by Democrats.
It was the first appointment to the court under a new law that allows the governor to fill vacancies with Senate approval. Under the former system, a nominating commission vetted candidates and provided a choice of three for the governor to consider.
Stegall will remain as Brownback’s chief counsel until he is sworn in as judge.
— The Associated Press contributed to this report.