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Chief Judge Evelyn WilsonTOPEKA—The Kansas Supreme Court will meet in special session at 2 p.m. Friday, January 24, to swear in Evelyn Wilson, who is filling a vacancy created by the retirement of Justice Lee Johnson.

Chief Justice Marla Luckert will preside at the ceremony.

Wilson currently serves as chief judge of the 3rd Judicial District, which is composed of Shawnee County. She was appointed to the Supreme Court by Gov. Laura Kelly on December 16.

The public can watch a live webcast of the ceremony on the Kansas judicial branch website at

Wilson has served as a district judge in the 3rd Judicial District since 2004 and as chief judge since 2014. She is a graduate of Bethany College and Washburn University School of Law. She practiced law in northwest Kansas and Topeka before becoming a judge.

Merit-based selection process

Supreme Court justices are appointed through a merit-based nomination process that Kansans voted to add to the Kansas Constitution in 1958.

When there is a vacancy on the court, the Supreme Court Nominating Commission has 60 days from the date the vacancy occurs to submit names of three qualified nominees to the governor.

After receiving the list of nominees, the governor has 60 days to appoint one of them to the court.

Interviews to fill second court vacancy

The Supreme Court Nominating Commission will meet January 16 and 17 in the Kansas Judicial Center to interview candidates to fill a second vacancy on the court created by the December 17 retirement of Chief Justice Lawton Nuss. Interviews are open to the public.

Supreme Court Nominating Commission

The Supreme Court Nominating Commission is an independent body. Four of its members are appointed by the governor and represent each of the state’s four congressional districts. These appointees are not attorneys. Four more members are attorneys elected by other attorneys within each of the congressional districts. The commission chair is an attorney elected by attorneys in a statewide vote.

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