Lawrence attorney is one of three finalists for Kansas Supreme Court seat

photo by: Associated Press

Justices return from recess during hearings before the Kansas Supreme Court in Topeka, Kan., Thursday, May 4, 2017. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

TOPEKA — A Kansas Court of Appeals judge, a Lawrence attorney and a veteran prosecutor now working for the attorney general’s office are finalists for a state Supreme Court seat.

A lawyer-led state nominating commission on Friday sent the candidates’ names to Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly. She has until March 17 to pick one, and her selection will sit on the high court with no oversight from the Republican-controlled Legislature.

The finalists are Court of Appeals Judge Thomas Malone, Lawrence attorney Keynen Wall and Steven Obermeier, who worked three decades as a Johnson County prosecutor before becoming assistant state solicitor general in 2017.

A place on the seven-member Supreme Court is open because former Chief Justice Lawton Nuss retired in December.

It will be Kelly’s second appointment to the court after she picked District Judge Evelyn Wilson of Shawnee County in December to fill another vacancy. Wilson plans to take her seat Jan. 24.

Obermeier was a finalist for the first vacancy.

Malone has served on the Court of Appeals since 2003 and was a Sedgwick County district judge for 12 years before that.

Wall has been with a Kansas City-area law firm since 2015 and previously managed the Supreme Court’s office for appeals in death penalty cases.

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