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Voter Guide: Kansas Judges

For many Kansas voters, the most difficult offices to vote for are “the judges.”

From the State Supreme Court to your local District Court, there is little information to assist the voter, unless you want to spend 100 hours pouring over the rulings of hundreds of court cases.

More information exists for the state’s highest courts – the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals – but even for the Appeals Court, information is tough to come by. But as our court system is based on judges being appointed by the governor and then retained by voters, that appointment system provides one clue: who appointed them. In addition to qualifications for the position including experience, education and more, Governors tend to appoint judges who come highly recommended by other judges and those in the political class. That means for Democrats, they might feel more comfortable with a judge appointed by a Democrat governor, and for Republicans, a Republican governor. But even finding that information can be time-consuming.

To keep our court system independent and functioning, voters must give some thought to who will hear our states tens of thousands of court cases each year. And as we have seen with the Supreme Court of the United States, Justices almost always begin their careers in these lower courts.

Unlike candidates for Congress, Senate and the President of the United States, you most likely will not recognize a single judge in the list below. That’s why it is important to print a sample ballot from the Secretary of State’s office, your local county authorities, or your local newspaper. Then compare the ballot to the list of judges below to determine your choices on the ballot. If your judge does not appear on the list, visit one of the websites linked below to learn more about them.

Below, we have included the Governor that appointed the Supreme Court Justice and the Judges for the Appellate Court. For District Courts, we have listed if they are endorsed by Kansans for Life.

Kansas Supreme Court

Eric Rosen

His current term ends on January 11, 2021.

Rosen was appointed to the court in 2005

Appointed by Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius.

He was retained by voters in 2014.

Kansans for Life: DO NOT RETAIN.

  • Prior to his appointment, Rosen served as a judge on the Shawnee County District Court. In 2002, he was appointed to the Kansas Sentencing Commission.


  • Member, Dwight D. Opperman Institute of Judicial Administration
  • 2004-2005: President, Sam A. Crow Inns of Court
  • Member, American Judges Association
  • Member, American Judicature Society
  • Member, Kansas District Judges Association
  • Member, American Bar Association
  • Member, Brown Foundation
  • Member, Jerome Horton Foundation
  • Former vice-chair, Community Corrections Advisory Board
  • Former president, Topeka High School Site Council
  • Former president, Topeka High Booster Club
  • Former president, Indian Woods Neighborhood Association
  • Former president, Temple Beth Shalom


Kansas Appellate Court

The terms of five Kansas Court of Appeals justices will expire on January 11, 2021. There are five seats up for retention election on November 3, 2020. A full term on the court is four years.

We have listed if they are endorsed by Kansans for Life

Sarah Warner

Appointed by Democrat Gov. Laura Kelly

  • Warner attended the University of Kansas, where she majored in French, international studies, mathematics, and political science. She graduated in 2003 with honors and distinction. Warner received her J.D., magna cum laude, from the Ave Maria School of Law in 2006.
  • Kansans For Life endorsed

David E. Bruns

Appointed by Republican Gov. Sam Brownback

  • Bruns earned an A.A. in pre-law from Kansas City Kansas Community College in 1979 and a B.S. in education from the University of Kansas in 1981. He received his J.D. with honors from Washburn University School of Law in 1984
  • Kansans For Life endorsed

Gordon Atcheson

Appointed by Democrat Gov. Mark Parkinson

  • Atcheson received his B.A. from the University of Michigan in 1976 and his J.D. from the University of Kansas School of Law in 1981.[1]

Karen Arnold-Burger

Appointed by Democrat Gov. Mark Parkinson

  • Arnold-Burger received her bachelor’s degrees from the University of Kansas in 1978 and her J.D. from the University of Kansas School of Law in 1981.

Kathryn Gardner

Appointed by Republican Gov. Sam Brownback

Gardner earned her B.A. in English from Geneva College and taught high school English before attending law school. She received her J.D. from the University of Kansas School of Law in 1983.

  • Kansans For Life endorsed


District Courts

District courts are created by the Constitution. They are the trial courts of Kansas, with general original jurisdiction over all civil and criminal cases, including divorce and domestic relations, damage suits, probate and administration of estates, guardianships, conservatorships, care of the mentally ill, juvenile matters, and small claims. It is here that the criminal and civil jury trials are held.

Vote to retain or not retain.

A Yes means they have been endorsed by Kansans for Life


District Court 1 (Atchison/Leavenworth)

Gerald R. Kuckelman: Yes (Retain)

Martin Asher: Yes (Retain)


District Court 3 (Shawnee)

Richard D. Anderson:  Yes (Retain)

Darian P. Dernovish:  Yes (Retain)

Nancy Parrish: No (Do not retain)

Rachel L. Pickering:   No (Do not retain)


District Court 10 (Johnson)

James F. Vano:   Yes (Retain)

Thomas Sutherland:   Yes (Retain)

Robert J. Wonnell:  No (Do not retain)

James Droege:   No (Do not retain)

Brenda M. Cameron:  No (Do not retain)

Paul W. Burmaster:    No (Do not retain)


For more information including Sedgewick County, visit KFLPac.org


–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice