Professor Makau Mutua was among the top five candidates selected by the JSC panel to succeed former Chief Justice Willy Mutunga.
Mutua was ranked third with 70 marks after judge Smokin Wanjala (74).
The law professor became the subject of interest following the rejection of his application for the CJ position despite a bulky 85-page resume.
Most of the document contains academic work- publications, papers, articles, books and seminars. His education background only takes a few paragraphs.
During his interview, he told the JSC panel that his interest as a lawyer has not been courtroom experience but the relationship between the state and the individual.
Court of Appeal judge David Maraga led the pack with 84 marks and was nominated the CJ on Thursday. He will take office if approved by President Uhuru Kenyatta and the National Assembly.
At 64, Justice Maraga will serve for a maximum of six years; the constitution has set judges' retirement age at 70. The Chief Justice will hold office for a maximum of 10 years, or leave upon reaching age 70, whichever comes first.
Senior counsel Nzamba Kitonga took fourth position and was followed by Court of Appeal judge Alnashir Visram but they were not awarded marks.
Sources privy to the Star said former judge Aaron Ringera and ambassador Daniel Wambura got the lowest scores.
Other candidates who were interviewed were Supreme Court Judge Jackton Ojwang and Court of Appeal's Roselyn Nambuye.
Also on the list were High Court judge Msagah Mbogholi, Lucy Wanja and Paul Kongani.