A former top aide to Gov. Sam Brownback is among three finalists for a vacant seat on the Kansas Supreme Court.
A special nominating commission has chosen Court of Appeals Judges Caleb Stegall and Karen Arnold-Burger and state District Judge Merlin Wheeler from 13 applicants for the high court. Brownback has 60 days to appoint one of them to the court.
Stegall was Brownback's chief counsel until the governor appointed him to the state Court of Appeals in January of this year. Arnold-Burger has served on that court since 2011.
Former Kansas Supreme Court Justice Nancy Moritz has taken the oath of office to join the federal appeals court that handles cases from six western and Plains states. The Denver-based 10th Circuit Court of Appeals says Moritz's temporary chambers will be in Lawrence.
President Barack Obama nominated Moritz in 2013 and she was confirmed in May. Her departure gives Gov. Sam Brownback his first appointment to the state's highest court.
A Kansas Supreme Court Justice Eric Rosen said during a hearing Tuesday he worries about "constant litigation" if the court sides with school districts that have sued the state to increase public education funding.
A state law enacted in 2006 set the state's base funding for public schools at $4,492 per student each year, but the current base state funding is $3,838 per student, or nearly 15 percent less. In 2010, a lower court ruled that the state must boost its annual spending on public schools by at least $440 million a year. That lawsuit followed one filed in 1999.
The Kansas Supreme Court has reversed a state agency's decision to issue a permit to construct a new coal-fired power plant in southwest Kansas.
Friday's unanimous decision by the justices is a setback for Sunflower Electric Power Corporation in its plans to build a second plant near Holcomb.
The justices ruled that the Kansas Department of Health and Environment failed to account for new emission standards from the federal Environmental Protection Agency that were in place at the time the permit was issued.