The Kansas Senate's top Democrat is calling Republican Gov. Sam Brownback's nomination of his chief counsel to the state Court of Appeals a political maneuver.
But the GOP-dominated Senate was expected Wednesday to confirm Caleb Stegall's appointment to the state's second-highest court by a wide margin.
Minority Leader Anthony Hensley of Topeka said the appointment represents political cronyism.
But Judiciary Committee Chairman and Independence Republican Jeff King said Stegall is well-qualified. King predicted that Stegall will be a strong asset to the court.
The 41-year-old Stegall was Jefferson County's elected prosecutor for two years before joining Brownback's staff in January 2011. He also was an attorney in private practice.
A bipartisan group of prominent attorneys wrote letters of recommendation for Stegall, including former Democratic Attorney General Steve Six.