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Judge Anthony Powell to retire from Court of Appeals

TOPEKA—Judge Anthony Powell will retire June 30, after serving nine years on the  Kansas Court of Appeals.  

Powell was appointed to the Court of Appeals in January 2013. During his time on the court, he heard over 2,000 cases and wrote 672 opinions.

“I’m very proud that I kept my promises to the people of Kansas when I became a judge—to faithfully follow the law and remember that every case is important to the litigants,” Powell said. “I have been very proud to be a guardian of our constitutional rights.”

Powell said he was first inspired to become a judge after filling a judge role in a moot court competition in law school, after which many of his peers told him he should consider becoming a real judge. In 2003, after a career in private practice, and four terms in the Kansas House of Representatives, he followed their recommendation and was elected to a judge position in the Sedgwick County District Court.

Powell served 11 years as a district judge before he was appointed to the Court of Appeals.

“Being a judge is the best job I have ever had,” Powell said. “Interesting, rewarding, and intellectually challenging work. Plus, you get to meet wonderful people every day.”

Through his time in the court system, Powell said he has witnessed the hard work of judges and their staff.

“I’ve always been amazed how dedicated people in the judicial branch are to doing their jobs well,” said Powell.

Powell was the first judge on the Court of Appeals to continue to live and primarily work in Wichita after being appointed.

“My hope was that by proving this could be done successfully, it would encourage others from outside of northeast Kansas to apply and serve on the Court of Appeals,” said Powell. “I think I have succeeded.”

The Court of Appeals now has two other judges living and working in Wichita and another in Salina. Powell believes this benefits the court because it provides geographical diversity.

Powell was born in Minnesota and graduated from George Washington University. He worked in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate before coming to Kansas to attend law school. He received his law degree from Washburn University School of Law.

Powell is a member of the Kansas Supreme Court Committee on High-Conflict Divorce and the Kansas Judicial Council End of Life Issues Committee. He was cochair of the legislative committee and a member of the executive committee for the Kansas District Judges Association.  

Court of Appeals appointment process 

By law, the governor appoints judges to the Kansas Court of Appeals, subject to a majority confirmation by the Kansas Senate. The governor has 60 days from the date the position becomes vacant to make the appointment, although the appointment process can begin immediately.  

Once the appointment is made, the incumbent must stand for a retention vote in the first general election after serving one year in office. Once retained, the judge serves a four-year term. 

A Court of Appeals judge must be at least 30 years old and have been a Kansas lawyer, judge, or full-time teacher at an accredited law school for at least 10 years.