Governor Laura Kelly today appointed Kenyen J. (K.J.) Wall to the Kansas Supreme Court. Wall will fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Chief Justice Lawton Nuss.
“Whether the court is dealing with issues of life and death, the powers of our government, or how we deal with the economic challenges of our time, the Supreme Court demands the best the legal profession has to offer,” Kelly said.
“K.J. has an incredible legal mind, a love of the law, and a heart for service. K.J. combines the ability to hear cases fairly and impartially with the ability to remember that the law is about people, not simply words on a page. He will be an excellent addition to our Supreme Court.
“On the Supreme Court, K.J. will join six talented, experienced jurists, and I am confident he’ll fit right in. His capacity to untangle complex legal issues and communicate them clearly and concisely will serve the court and our state well for years to come.”
Wall is a partner with Forbes Law Group, where he regularly represents rural hospitals and other clients in courts throughout the state. From 2013 to 2015 he served as Deputy General Counsel to the Kansas Supreme Court, handling capital cases and special projects. Before working for the Kansas Supreme Court, Wall had been a private practice litigator in Colorado and was Senior Counsel at Federated Insurance in Owatonna, Minn.
Wall was an All-American and national-champion debater at Kansas State University, where he studied communications, graduating in 1993. After receiving his masters in rhetoric at the University of Minnesota in 1996, Wall attended the University of Kansas School of Law, where he graduated Order of the Coif in 2001. Wall began his legal career as a law clerk to United States District Judge John W. Lungstrum.
Wall also has been active in his community, as a member of the Kansas Bar Association’s Appellate Practice Committee, a member of the public school board in Owatonna Minnesota, a member of the board of directors of the River Bend Nature Center in Faribault, Minn. and a member of the Weld Food Bank in Weld County, Colo.
“I’m blessed to have the support of my family and am thankful for the confidence Governor Kelly and the Supreme Court Nominating Commission have placed in me as I embark on this new challenge,” Wall said. “I promise that every day I will work to ensure that the law is applied fairly and impartially. I hope to continue the legacy of fairness, independence and character that Judge Lungstrum, Chief Justice Nuss and countless other mentors have instilled in me over the years.
“Kansas has always been home, and I can think of no better way to serve my state than serving alongside the six dedicated, brilliant justices on our Supreme Court.”
Kansas Supreme Court Justices are appointed through a merit-based nomination process. When there is a vacancy on the court, the Supreme Court Nominating Commission submits the names of three nominees to the Governor, and the Governor then has 60 days to make the appointment.
To be eligible, a nominee must be at least 30 years old and admitted to practice in Kansas and engaged in the practice of law for at least 10 years, whether as a lawyer, judge or full-time teacher at an accredited law school.
Every justice must stand for a retention vote in the general election following their first year of service on the court. If retained by voters at that time, they then face retention votes every six years for as long as they serve on the bench.