Former Kan. AG gets support for nomination to appeals court

Jessica M. Karmasek Jul. 13, 2011, 11:00am


LAWRENCE, Kan. (Legal Newsline) - Pepperdine University law dean Deanell Reece Tacha, in a letter to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, says she supports former Kansas Attorney General Steve Six's nomination to a federal appeals court.

Six would fill Tacha's seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit. She served on the 10th Circuit since January 1986 and served as Chief Judge from January 2001 until 2007.

In February, she announced she was leaving the court to become dean at Pepperdine's law school, retiring June 1 to begin her new position.

According to the Lawrence Journal-World, Tacha sent a letter to Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, the committee's ranking Republican.

"I can say with confidence that Stephen Six possesses the demeanor, intellect and integrity that characterizes the finest judges in the nation," Tacha wrote in her June 24 letter, according to the newspaper.

"He is open and independent in his judgment. He demonstrates the highest standards and professionalism in everything that he does."

According to its website, the Senate Judiciary Committee plans to debate Six's nomination at its executive business meeting Thursday.

Tacha also sent copies of her letter to U.S. Sens. Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran, both Republicans from Kansas, who said last month they opposed Six's nomination to the court.

"After thoroughly reviewing Mr. Six's record and his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, I will not support his nomination to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. I have urged my colleagues on the committee to vote against his nomination," Roberts said in a statement.

Moran issued a similar statement: "After thoroughly reviewing Mr. Six's qualifications and testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, I will not be supporting President Obama's nominee to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals."

Neither senator explained why they would not support the former attorney general.

Others have expressed their opposition to his nomination, including those pro-life abortion groups Kansans for Life and the National Right to Life Committee Inc., based in Washington D.C.

Six, a Democrat, was appointed to district court judge in 2005 by former Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, who now serves as the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services under President Barack Obama.

Sebelius, a Democrat, then appointed Six to state attorney general in December 2007. Six lost his seat in the November general election to Republican Derek Schmidt. Since January, Six has worked as a partner at the law firm of Stevens & Brand.

Obama nominated him to the 10th Circuit on March 9.

"Steve Six has distinguished himself as a first-rate jurist with unflagging integrity and evenhandedness," Obama said in a statement at the time. "I am grateful for his service to the state of Kansas and look forward to adding his considerable wisdom and experience to the 10th Circuit Court."

From 1994 to 2005, Six worked at the Kansas City law firm of Shamberg, Johnson & Bergman, first as a litigation associate from 1994 to 1998 and later as a partner from 1998 to 2005.

From 1993 to 1994, he served as a judicial law clerk to Tacha.

Six received his law degree in 1993 from the University of Kansas School of Law and his undergraduate degree in 1988 from Carleton College.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by e-mail at

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