A judicial nominating commission has forwarded the names of two judges and a civil attorney to Gov. Pete Ricketts, who ultimately will appoint one to fill an empty spot on the Nebraska Supreme Court.
The vacancy in the 6th Judicial District is due to the death of Justice John F. Wright in March.
After a meeting Thursday to hear information from the candidates, the commission sent on the names of: Ryan C. Carson of Gibbon, a practicing attorney in Kearney; Dawson County District Judge James E. Doyle IV of Lexington; and Lancaster County Judge John R. Freudenberg of Lincoln.
Carson practices in a variety of areas, including insurance defense, commercial, employment, corporate, product liability, some criminal defense work and catastrophic tort litigation. He has practiced law in Nebraska for seven years and currently is with Jacobsen, Orr, Lindstrom & Hollbrook PC.
Doyle has been a district judge in the 11th Judicial District since 2001, handling more than 700 cases a year, and has been the presiding judge in the Midwest Nebraska Problem-Solving Court since 2006. Before he became a judge, he was a partner at a Lexington law firm.
Freudenberg in April 2017 became a county judge in Lincoln, where he handles roughly 3,400 cases a year. Before that, he led the criminal bureau for the Nebraska Attorney General's Office and supervised prosecutions, investigation and criminal appeals. He also has worked in private practice at a firm in Gordon and as the Sheridan County attorney from 2003-07.
One of the three will be Ricketts' fifth appointment to the state Supreme Court.
Three others had been vying for the position: Melodie L. Bellamy of Kearney, a deputy Buffalo County Attorney; Douglas County District Judge Leigh Ann Retelsdorf of Omaha; and former U.S. Attorney Joe Stecher of Harrison.