Judge opposed by abortion foes finalist for top Kansas court

Kansas

Kansas Supreme Court Nominating Chairman Mikel Stout, left, confers with commission member Terrence Campbell, right, during a break in its consideration of candidates for the state’s highest court, Friday, Oct. 18, 2019, in Topeka, Kan. The commission’s three finalists for Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly to consider include a trial-court judge opposed by the state’s most influential anti-abortion group. (AP Photo/John Hanna)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – A Kansas trial-court judge opposed by an influential anti-abortion group is among three finalists to fill a vacancy on the state’s highest court.

Kansas Supreme Court Nominating Commission member Terrence Campbell fills out a ballot during multiple rounds of voting on applicants for a vacant seat on the state’s highest court, Friday, Oct. 18, 2019, in Topeka, Kan. The commission’s three finalists for Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly to consider include a trial-court judge opposed by the state’s most influential anti-abortion group. (AP Photo/John Hanna)

A state nominating commission on Friday named Shawnee County District Judge Evelyn Wilson as a potential appointee for Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly to consider. Kelly’s appointee will go on the court without any review by the Republican-controlled Legislature.

Kansans for Life announced its opposition this week to her candidacy, citing her husband’s political contributions to Kelly and other abortion-rights supporters. She has declined to comment, but he said she steers clear of politics.

Commission members said they were unaware of the group’s opposition.

The commission also selected Deputy Kansas Attorney General Dennis Depew and Assistant Kansas Solicitor General Steven Obermeier as finalists for Kelly to consider.

It will be the first of two vacancies that Kelly is due to fill in the next few months because of retirements on the seven-member Supreme Court. She took office in January and will have more appointees in a little more than a year than her two GOP predecessors had combined.

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