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On Senate approves changes in selection of judges


Mike1949 5 years, 3 months ago

This is about control! Brownback & his supporters want to stack the deck, tilt the arm of justice against freedom, what is right and what is wrong. We are one step closer to dictatorship, a very sad day for freedom and justice!

skull 5 years, 3 months ago

Defenders of the constitution...unless of course it gets in the way and needs to be changed.

JackMcKee 5 years, 3 months ago

Are people in western Kansas really this gullible?

bad_dog 5 years, 3 months ago

As you well know, that's the Federal process and not something Obama created.

BTW, I thought conservatives always want the right to do it their way, you know, state's rights and all that anti-federal rah, rah stuff. So now you're implying some things done at the Federal level are done correctly? Wow, mark the calendar!

William Weissbeck 5 years, 3 months ago

Not exactly. Home state senators make the recommendations to the president, and their veto can single handed sink nominations (think Steve Six). Federal judges have more extensive background checks than even the Director of the CIA. We aren't really talking about who confirms the judges. Instead the power will in Kansas reside with who selects the nominees. Will it be actual lawyers or political hacks? And in the unlikely event that Kansans wake up from their long nightmare and again elect Democratic governors, will the legislature be able to veto all of their nominations?

DScully 5 years, 3 months ago

President Obama appoints those who actually have a brain and don't just follow along sheeplike. Not true here in Kansas, Sam wants his imps in place to do his evil doing.

adastraperapathy 5 years, 3 months ago

Some facts that you probably don't know: US Senators (including Kansas's own Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran) have upwards of 30 staff members each. Kansas Senators have a part-time Secretary unless they are a committee chair or leadership.

Kansas Senate Committees usually have a Committee Secretary (sometimes the same as the Committee Chair's regular secretary), and maybe one or two additional staff. US Senate Committees have several committee staff for each Party, in addition to each Senator's individual platoon of staff.

The Federal government also has an extensive background check system conducted by the FBI.

Finally, the US Senate meets year around and US Senators are paid accordingly. The Kansas Senate only meets from January to May for 90 days. It has intermittent committee meetings during the rest of the year, but in order for the entire Senate to meet, a special session would have to be called. Kansas Senators are paid $90 per day they work (Some work more, some work less, but it works out to be a subsistence salary).

So, not only are you advocating for implementing a Federal system onto a State system that does not have near the same resources, you might also be increasing the cost of government if the Senate is required to meet more often to carry out this work.

Anything for the sake of power though, right?

myavaka 5 years, 3 months ago

I find it interesting that Brownback and his supporters are bothered by, "centrist" judges. They assume any view that isn't, "Radical Right Wing" is, "Flaming Liberal" views. By definition, being in the center means you look at both sides of an issue and then make a decision. That's what judges should do.

JackMcKee 5 years, 3 months ago

Also, never thought I'd see the day when the House and a general vote would be all that stands between extremists in the Senate and their radical agenda.

oldexbeat 5 years, 3 months ago

They can't write good law, nor read well -- so lowering the bar for judges is their answer. GOP Big Government Tea Party takes all power. All power to the Koch Brothers LLC. Koch Suckers united -- aka Kansas legislature. Never let one of these power hungry GOP s talk about smaller government. They mean smaller for the citizens, not their Party. All Power to the Party, says Brownback.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 3 months ago

Brownback's law-- If it doesn't need fixing, break it.

hiphopsux 5 years, 3 months ago

Anyone who isn't ifuriated by this needs to take a step back and look at their own skewed political beliefs. Regardless of your affiliation this is not what our forefathers had in mind when it came to a three-tiered system. This is becoming much more like what Iran currently has in place.

conlawgrad 5 years, 3 months ago

I'm sorry but you are ignorantly wrong about this. This is the EXACT system the forefathers put in place on the federal level. The President nominates someone and then the Senate confirms them. Just replace Governor with President and you have THE SAME EXACT SYSTEM....good grief.

Liberty275 5 years, 3 months ago

How does the proposed Kansas system differ from the federal system?

gccs14r 5 years, 3 months ago

If this passes, I anticipate massive campaigning against all the "wrong" judges to create vacancies for Brownback to fill. Make sure you vote to retain all of them.

So now any time there's a Democrat governor, we'll have years-long confirmation fights in the Senate and seats will go unfilled, just like what happens at the Federal level. They won't mention that on the ballot, though.

JackMcKee 5 years, 3 months ago

I have a feeling that Kansas will spend a good deal of the next 25 years fixing the screw ups being made right now.

Hooligan_016 5 years, 3 months ago

I was having a similar thought yesterday ... however it was a less optimistic. With the current path the state/legislature/governor is headed, I can't see us being able to fix all the damage.

kansanbygrace 5 years, 3 months ago

And, on the side of this, the term "conservative" has now been kidnapped and sequestered by the neo-liberal (then labeled neo-conservative) dreamers, adherents to the mythology of Milton Friedman and the Chicago Boys economists. Examples of their efforts are Argentina, now in recovery from their fifth bankruptcy, and Chile, who are now thriving only because they nationalized substantial tin, nickel and copper mines enabling the nation to collateralize their economy.

Sadly, Kansas has no more income from our natural resources, such as that income for the states of Texas and Alaska from the sale of their oil, because of the removal of severance taxes a couple of decades back.

No, these guys want a figurehead in the statehouse to dictate to the state the bidding of a handful of characters who inherited their influence, while not inheriting the intelligence and attitude of constructiveness that built that influence.

Thinking_Out_Loud 5 years, 3 months ago

Senator Haley is correct. The current system works well and ensures well-qualified candidates are advanced to the Governor for appointment. My opinion is that this move somewhat unbalances the balance of power between the three branches. The people of this state already have input: every time a judge stands for retention. If the Legislature becomes involved in appointment, it gives the people (through their representatives in the Legislature) power in selecting judges. To restore balance, any change in this law that inserts the Legislature at the selection stage must be offset by eliminating the retention vote. If the Legislature gets to approve whom the Governor wants to hire, eliminating the retention vote will allow for independence of the judiciary. Or else, leave the system as it currently exists alone.

Thinking_Out_Loud 5 years, 3 months ago

I also am satisfied with the status quo, KL. My point was that, if the Legislature wants to provide a check against the Executive's appointment, ending the retention vote would eliminate temptation of judges to issue decisions that are questionable as law but pander to the masses.

Once appointed, no matter how conservative the Governor or Legislature, a judge would not be threatened that a PAC would target him or her during the retention vote. This is the independence I was talking about. It is quite a different thing from having an ideology.

july241983 5 years, 3 months ago

“The current system does not have the legitimacy for the voters of the state of Kansas that it needs to,” said Senate Vice President Jeff King, an Independence Republican who also serves as the chamber’s Judiciary Committee chairman.

And yet the Senator opposed an amendment to SCR 1601 that would have made sure that any vote by the people of Kansas on this constitutional amendment would be in a general election. As written, the constitutional amendment would be voted on by Kansans in the August 2014 primary election. The McGinn amendment, which King opposed, would have changed the date of the vote to the November, 2014 general election.

King's reasoning for opposing the amendment - we can't wait another three months. Of course, he admitted the current system has been in place since the 1950's with not so much as one noticeable problem. But we can't wait 3 months to put it to the voters in a general election.

As was pointed out during the discussion of the McGinn amendment, the voter turnout for general elections is much higher than for primaries. For example, the November 2012 turnout in Kansas was 66.8 percent, while the August 2012 turnout was 23.2 percent. Even after hearing these numbers, Senator King continued to oppose the amendment and still maintained that his proposal supported "the legitimacy for the voters of the state of Kansas." I'm sorry if I'm not convinced, Senator.

buffalo63 5 years, 3 months ago

Just remember, all of the actions in this year's session is part of a "Kansas Experiment" and we shouldn't do anything reasonable to screw up the experiment, like voting in November to get MORE participation from Kansas voters..

Liberty275 5 years, 3 months ago

I''ve only been in Kansas a decade and a half, so I'm a little lost here. I didn't realize Kansas used such a different system than the federal Gov to choose judges, Hopefully one of you old timers can explain why you prefer the current system in Kansas over what looks to be a clone of the federal system. I understand heritage, and if that is the reason, ok. I'm a state's rights proponent.

It seems to me however the left in Kansas believe they will continue to lose or not gain any legislative seats which will shift the judicial to the right under the more democratic system. Did you vote for any of the guys that get to pick potential judges? I don't remember seeing that on the ballot.

The current system has a break in the democratic chain. In general that isn't good, bur if it is a tradition, I won't argue with it.

gccs14r 5 years, 3 months ago

Who better to select a judge based on competency and fairness than those versed in the law? There is no guarantee that present or future senators would be versed in or care enough about the law to let that be a determining factor when confirming a nominee. Considering the trouble that modern Presidents have with getting judicial appointments confirmed, I don't think we want to copy that system here.

july241983 5 years, 3 months ago

The selection of judges based on merit is actually used by more states than direct appointment by an elected official. The proponents of change are trying to make it seem like our current system is unique. It's not. It's called the Missouri plan. It was developed to keep politics out of judicial selection. Very few states use a model like the federal system.

Here is a site that shows on a map how "different" Kansas is (spoiler alert - it's not). http://www.statecourtsguide.com/

If you'd like to read about Merit selection of judges, here is the wikipidea page for the process: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missouri_Plan#section_2

And the reason Kansas moved to merit selection was because of the Kansas "triple play." Basically, the outgoing governor, with about 10 days left in office, resigned and had his #2 appoint the him to be Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. We decided we didn't want this sort of scandal again. And we haven't had this sort of scandal again in over 50 years. But the powers that be want to fix something that isn't broken.

Bob Forer 5 years, 3 months ago

I don't know what is worse. The conservatives trying to take control of our justice or the lies they tell--a need to open up the selection process--in support of their transparent politicking.

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