Gov. Laura Kelly on Tuesday nominated a Lenexa attorney who argued abortion cases on behalf of the state to fill a vacancy on the state Court of Appeals after the Democratic governor's first choice withdrew from consideration.

Sarah Warner, who practices law in Lawrence and serves as president of the Kansas Bar Association, would take the seat left by the retirement of Court of Appeals Judge Patrick McAnany.

Warner was among attorneys representing Kansas in the case in which the Kansas Supreme Court found the right to abortion was protected by the Kansas Constitution. She also was involved in defending Kansas' health and safety regulations for abortion clinics on hold for years.

Kelly said Warner was "one of the brightest lawyers in our state and an expert in appellate advocacy."

"She will bring a wealth of experience and energy to the court," the governor said.

In March, Warner was among three finalists for the state's second-highest court when Kelly chose District Judge Jeffry Jack. He dropped out before Senate confirmation hearings because of concern about his past social media comments about GOP politicians and controversial political issues.

Warner grew up in Pittsburg, earned a degree at the University of Kansas and graduated from Ave Maria School of Law in 2006. She was a clerk to Chief Justice Robert Davis of the state Supreme Court until 2009, leaving to enter private practice. She taught appellate practice at Washburn University's law school.

"I’m excited to have the opportunity to join the Court of Appeals judges who I have long admired for their service," Warner said. "I thank Governor Kelly for trusting me to bring an independent, impartial perspective to the important work of the Court of Appeals."

The path to confirmation for Warner wasn't clear, because Attorney General Derek Schmidt, Senate President Susan Wagle and Kelly don't agree on the procedure for nominating someone to replace Jack.

Kelly said she retained authority, but Wagle said the task should be passed to state Supreme Court Chief Justice Lawton Nuss. Schmidt said state law could be interpreted different ways and urged the Legislature to pass a law clarifying their intent or allow the courts to settle the matter.

The Supreme Court scheduled oral argument on the dispute for May 9.

"I remain ready and willing to work with the Legislature to pass a simple, straightforward legislative fix to the statute regarding Court of Appeals appointments," Kelly said.

The others considered for the vacancy were Steve Obermeier, an assistant solicitor general with the attorney general's office, and Marcia Wood, of Wichita. The governor said both were "incredibly talented attorneys and dedicated community servants."