Kansas Supreme Court
Judicial Selection Method: Missouri Plan
7 Justices
1 year minimum initial terms, 6 year full terms
State High Court & Judicial Nominating Commission Composition & Terms of Judicial Nominating Commission Judicial Selection Process Legal Authority
    • 9 members:

    • 4 lawyers elected by the Kansas state bar
      • 1 from each of the state’s 4 congressional districts
    • 1 lawyer elected by lawyers state-wide as Chair
    • 4 non-lawyers appointed by the Governor
      • 1 from each of the state’s 4 congressional districts

Terms: 4 years (staggered)


  • Commission submits a list of three persons from which the Governor must choose one.
  • At the end of a Justice’s term, the Justice will be subject to a statewide retention election and will continue for another term if the Justice is retained.

Interim Vacancies

  • Supreme court vacancies shall be filled by appointment by the Governor of one of three persons possessing the qualifications of office who shall be nominated and whose names shall be submitted to the Governor by the supreme court nominating commission established as hereinafter provided.
  • In event of the failure of the Governor to make the appointment within sixty days from the time the names of the nominees are submitted to him, the chief justice of the supreme court shall make the appointment from such nominees.

Percentage of Lawyers on the Nominating Commission

Who Selects the Nominating Commissioners?

    Docket Watch

  • Declining to Follow Its Neighbor Missouri, the Kansas Supreme Court Holds Noneconomic Damages Cap in Medical Malpractice Cases Constitutional

    The Kansas Supreme Court, in Miller v. Johnson,1 recently upheld Kansas’ statutory cap on non-economic damages in personal injury cases, including medical malpractice cases, as constitutional. Specifically, the Kansas Supreme Court held the cap, set forth in K.S.A. 60-19a02, does not violate Sections 5 and 18 of the Kansas Constitution Bill of Rights providing a right to a jury trial and a right to damages, respectively. This decision is in contrast to its neighboring state’s supreme court, which recently declared a statutory cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases unconstitutional for violation of the right to a jury trial.2

  • Tenth Circuit Rejects Challenge to the Judicial Merit Selection Process in Kansas

    The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit has become the latest federal appellate court to weigh in on the constitutionality of the so-called “merit selection” method for selecting state court judges.1 Like the Eighth Circuit and Ninth Circuit courts before it, the Tenth Circuit upheld the key provision of the “merit selection” process against an Equal Protection Clause challenge.2 The Tenth Circuit’s decision was not unanimous, however. Further, the two judges in the majority disagreed on the appropriate analysis and application of relevant Supreme Court precedent. The divergent reasoning applied by the Tenth Circuit demonstrates the need for clarity from the Supreme Court. Only time will tell if such clarity will be provided.

  • Judicial Election

    Judges are elected by popular vote.
  • Democratic Appointment

    Judges are appointed directly by a democratic body, or appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of some democratic body.