TOPEKA A proposed constitutional amendment that would require Senate confirmation of Kansas Supreme Court justices failed to get the necessary two-thirds support in the Senate today.
The measure received 22 votes for and 17 votes against, but because it was a proposed amendment, it needed 27 votes to advance.
The vote followed a bitter struggle that started last year when lawmakers angry over several Supreme Court decisions sought to rein in the court.
"Unelected judges are legislating from the bench," declared state Sen. Jim Barnett, R-Emporia.
But Sen. John Vratil, R-Leawood, said the proposal was an overreaction by the Legislature and would jeopardize the independence of the judiciary.
The measure was drawn up after the court last year mandated additional funding for schools, and struck down the death penalty in 2004.
Supreme Court justices are selected by the governor from three finalists chosen by a nominating commission. Justices then face retention votes every six years.
Under the proposal that was before the Senate, the selection process would have remained with confirmation by a majority of the Senate added before justices could serve.