It’s not exactly six degrees of separation, but there’s a nexus between the election to fill Mike Kerns seat on the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, a lawsuit challenging the Rohnert Park casino and John Paul Stevens’ retirement from the U.S. Supreme Court.

Petaluma Councilman Mike Healy is one of four candidates in the south county’s 2nd supervisorial district, and he’s a plaintiff in a federal lawsuit that contends the Interior Department overstepped its bounds when it said it would take land outside Rohnert Park into trust for the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria.

A U.S. District judge ruled that the plaintiffs lacked legal standing and dismissed the lawsuit. That ruling was appealed, and a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will listen to oral arguments on Thursday.

One of the judges on that panel is Sidney Thomas of Billings, Mont. On Monday, the White House revealed that Thomas is one of about a half-dozen candidates to succeed Stevens, who is retiring after 35 years on the Supreme Court.

— Jim Sweeney