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Kay McFarland

Kansas district court judge and Supreme Court justice. Born 1935, Coffeyville, Kansas.

Born in Coffeyville, Justice McFarland grew up in Topeka and earned her undergraduate and law degrees from Washburn University in 1957 and 1964 respectively.  There were few women practicing law in Topeka at that time or, for that matter, in the state.  She was elected to the probate and juvenile courts in Shawnee County, Kansas and in 1973 became the first woman to be elected district judge in Kansas.

In 1977 she became the first woman to have a seat on the Supreme Court of Kansas when she was appointed to that position by Governor Robert Bennett.  She was returned to office by state-wide vote every six years until she retired in 2009.  Justice McFarland served as Chief Justice of the court from 1995 until her retirement.  During her administration she led the court system of Kansas through some very difficult economic times.  Justice McFarland has received many awards for her groundbreaking accomplishments.

Entry: McFarland, Kay

Author: G. Joseph Pierron

Author information: Judge Pierron serves on the Kansas Court of Appeals and has an interest in Kansas history.

Date Created: March 2012

Date Modified: March 2012

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.