Failed Obama-appointee heads to private practice

By Jessica M. Karmasek | Sep 15, 2011


KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Legal Newsline) - Former Kansas Attorney General and failed federal appeals court nominee Steve Six is joining the Kansas City law firm Stueve Siegel Hanson LLP as a partner.

The firm made the announcement Wednesday.

"We are delighted to welcome Steve to our team. He's an accomplished lawyer and jurist with an impeccable reputation and history of success," partner Norman Siegel said in a statement.

The firm noted that Six, as attorney general, successfully represented Kansas in "complex cases" in various areas, including health care, antitrust, environmental resources and consumer protection.

"Steve is a rare find -- a lawyer who has represented plaintiffs in complex litigation, served as a judge, and as the chief law enforcement officer of a state," partner Patrick Stueve said in a statement.

"We are eager to bring his skill set to bear on our current and future cases."

At Stueve Siegel Hanson, Six will work in the firm's commercial litigation, public client and personal injury practices.

In July, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee blocked Six's nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit.

The committee deferred to opposition from Kansas' U.S. Sens. Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran. Both Roberts and Moran are Republicans.

The senators had sent a letter to the chairman of the committee, Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy, asking that the committee not take up Six's nomination.

In June, the Kansas senators released separate statements saying they opposed the former attorney general's nomination.

"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.

Moran said, "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 Six.

However, Pepperdine University law dean Deanell Reece Tacha said in a separate letter to the judiciary committee that she approved of Six.

Six, a Democrat, would have filled Tacha's seat on the federal court. 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.

In 2005, Six was appointed to district court judge 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. Six then worked as a partner at the law firm of Stevens & Brand.

Obama nominated him to the 10th Circuit in March.

"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.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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