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Douglas Co. Judge Fills In on KS Supreme Court

Judge Michael Malone in his Supreme Court office. (Photo by Stephen Koranda)

A long-time Douglas County judge has been filling in on the highest court in Kansas. Former District Court Judge Michael Malone was selected to temporarily fill a vacancy on the Kansas Supreme Court while a permanent replacement was selected.

He calls it a "dream come true," even though the workload tops his previous job.

“This is a whole new world. That’s probably the surprising thing about this. I think intellectually and conceptual I understood the work that they did up here. But practically speaking, the unrelenting waves of cases,” says Malone.

Malone has worked on some high-profile lawsuits during his tenure, including one over removing the Democratic candidate from the U.S. Senate ballot this year and another suit over same sex marriage.

Malone says he’s had to learn to work more collaboratively on decisions. He calls the experience of serving on the court like walking a tightrope without a net.

“As a district court judge I never wanted to make a mistake, but I always knew if I did it would be corrected at the Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court. Here, there is no correction. You’ve got to get it right,” says Malone.

The new permanent justice on the Kansas Supreme Court, Caleb Stegall, was sworn in last week. Malone says he’ll continue helping the high court in the coming months.

Chief Justice Lawton Nuss says he appreciates that Malone has brought the perspective of a recent trial court judge to the Supreme Court.

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