A statewide nominating commission has named a western Kansas judge, a Kansas City-area prosecutor and a Topeka attorney as finalists for a vacant seat on the state's second highest court.
But Thursday's announcement means the commission passed over Gov. Sam Brownback's chief counsel and a prominent judge who is a former legislator. That could fuel a debate over the judicial selection process.
The finalists are Stevens County District Judge Kim Schroeder, Senior Deputy Johnson County District Attorney Steven Obermeier and Topeka attorney Teresa Watson. Brownback attorney Caleb Stegall and Sedgwick County District Judge Tony Powell, who formerly served in the Kansas House, had applied for the job.
Brownback has 60 days to pick one of the finalists to replace appeals Judge Christel Marquardt. She is retiring in January.