Today Governor Laura Kelly formally submitted to the Senate the appointment of Sarah Warner, of Lenexa, to the Kansas Court of Appeals. Although Warner’s appointment materials were forwarded to the Senate on April 30, 2019, her appointment is being formally submitted today after last Friday’s Kansas Supreme Court decision clarifying the law regarding Court of Appeals appointments.
“Sarah Warner is one of the brightest legal minds in our state and she has devoted much of her career to tackling the difficult legal issues that any Court of Appeals judge must be ready to address,” Kelly said. “I look forward to the Senate’s consideration of her appointment.”
Once confirmed, Warner will fill the Court of Appeals vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Patrick McAnany on January 14, 2019. Governor Kelly began accepting applications to fill the position prior to her inauguration and stopped accepting applications on December 28, 2019. On December 31, 2019, she announced the applicants and their cities of residence. Warner was one of three finalists selected in a merit-based process conducted by a bipartisan group of lawyers and citizens.
“I did not support changing the Court of Appeals appointment process in 2013, when the Legislature and Governor Brownback approved the current process,” Kelly said. “It is critical that judicial selection remains separate from the political process. I’m committed to resolving the issues with this law that were not addressed in the original legislation. It is why I supported a simple legislative fix back in March. Regardless, I’m pleased that we can now move forward with the process and I look forward to seeing Sarah Warner serve on the Kansas Court of Appeals.”
Because the law regarding Court of Appeals appointments requires the Senate to vote on an appointment within 60 days as long as the Senate will be in session at some point during those 60 days, Warner’s appointment should be considered during the Senate’s sine die session on May 29, 2019. Otherwise, under the law the Senate is deemed to consent to the appointment.