Lawton Nuss

Lawton Nuss is a Kansas Supreme Court Justice appointed by Governor Bill Graves in August of 2002. Nuss was born December 30, 1952 in Salina, Kansas. In 1970 he graduated from Salina High School and went on to the University of Kansas on a Naval Reserve Officers' Training Corps scholarship. He graduated in January 1975 as a Distinguished Military Graduate with B.A.'s in English and History.


Nuss was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps and served as a combat engineering officer with the Marine Forces Pacific. After his discharge in 1979, he attended the University of Kansas School of Law until earning a J.D. in 1982. He and is wife Barbara are parents to Ethan, Asia, Arthur, Rachel and Graham and currently reside in Topeka, Kansas.

Professional life
Justice Nuss started his 20 year career as an attorney in August of 1982 at the Salina law firm of Clark, Mize and Linville achieving the title of Vice President in 1988. He has served in numerous professional activities such as Chairman of the Board of Editors for the Journal of the Kansas Bar Association, President of the Kansas Association of Defense Counsel, and President of the Saline-Ottawa County Bar Association. Nuss has also served as Chairman of the Salvation Army Advisory Board, Board of Trustees of St. John's Military School, Board of Directors of the Salina Child Care Association, Board of Directors of Friends of the Salina Public Library, and the Board of Advisors of the Coronado Area Council of Boy Scouts.

In August of 2002 Governor Bill Graves appointed Nuss to the Kansas Supreme Court making him the first person in over twenty years to go directly from an attorney to Supreme Court Justice. In 2004 Nuss faced his first retention vote, maintaining his office with 679,895 (75.6%) electing to retain compared to 219,296 (24.3%) votes opposing retention.

In 2006 Justice Nuss was admonished by the Commission on Judicial Qualifications for violating three Canons of Judicial Conduct when he spoke with fellow Republicans, then Senate President Steve Morris of Houghton and Sen. Pete Brungardt of Salina, about a school finance bill while Montoy v. Kansas, the school finance litigation lawsuit, was still pending before the court. Nuss recused himself from the case and admitted he made a mistake.

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