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Brownback schedules news conference Tuesday to announce Kansas Court of Appeals appointee

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Topeka — Gov. Sam Brownback will announce his appointee to the Kansas Court of Appeals at a news conference on Tuesday.

Eighteen people expressed an interest in the vacancy and completed at least one portion of the application process, the governor's office said today. Thirteen people interviewed with senior staff, with the three referred to Brownback for a second interview. Five individuals did not complete paperwork, were not statutorily eligible or withdrew from consideration, the office said.

This will be the first appeals court selection under a new law that increased the power of the governor to fill vacancies on the court.

During the recently concluded legislative session, Republicans in the Legislature approved a bill that allowed the governor to make appointments to the Kansas Court of Appeals, subject to Senate confirmation. Brownback signed that bill into law.

The new process replaced one in which a nominating commission screened applicants and named three finalists from which the governor made a selection.

The Legislature will meet in special session on Sept. 3, and the Senate will be required to consider Brownback's appointment.

Brownback called the special session after a U.S. Supreme Court decision raised questions about a Kansas law that allows some convicted murderers to be sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 50 years.

The appeals court selection has raised some controversy after Brownback refused to disclose the names of applicants for the position.

Under the previous process, the nominating commission had released the names of appellate court applicants, and even opened to the public interviews with candidates.

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