- Associated Press - Friday, August 14, 2015

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - A Lancaster County judge with more than two decades of legal experience will become the second woman in state history to serve on the Nebraska Supreme Court, Gov. Pete Ricketts announced Friday.

Judge Stephanie F. Stacy of Lincoln is his first appointee for an open seat on the state’s highest court. She replaces Justice Kenneth C. Stephan, who retired July 1.

Stacy has been part of the Lancaster County District Court since 2011. Before that, she was a partner at a Lincoln law firm and an adjunct faculty member at the University of Nebraska College of Law.

“Her expertise and judicial temperament will continue to be an asset to the people of Nebraska and now also to our state’s Supreme Court,” Ricketts said in a statement.

Stacy earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and graduated with distinction from the university’s law college in 1991.

Stacy has presided over a variety of criminal, civil and domestic cases, appeals and constitutional challenges. Since February, she has served as one of two judges who oversee Lancaster County’s adult drug court. Stacy was appointed from the first judicial district, consisting of Lancaster and Seward counties.

Last year, she struck down a state law that allowed former Gov. Dave Heineman to approve a route for the Keystone XL oil pipeline. The state appealed to the Nebraska Supreme Court, which narrowly upheld the law but left an opening for opposing landowners to file a new claim.

With Stacy’s appointment, the court now has three registered Republicans, three registered Democrats and one registered nonpartisan. Stacy is a registered Republican, while Stephan is a registered Democrat who was appointed by former Gov. Ben Nelson.

The first woman on the high court was Justice Lindsey Miller-Lerman, who was appointed by Nelson in 1998 and is still serving.

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