Archive for Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback urges Senate action on bill aimed at judge selection process for state Court of Appeals

March 16, 2011


— Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback's administration is urging the state Senate to act on a bill that would change the process for selecting judges for the state Court of Appeals.

The measure would have judges appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Senate. Currently, a statewide nominating commission screens applications for vacancies and recommends three finalists to the governor, who appoints one without Senate confirmation.

The measure passed the House last month but hasn't had a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Brownback's chief counsel, Caleb Stegall, says the change would make the selection process more open. A majority of nominating commission members are lawyers, chosen only by other lawyers.

But opponents of changing the system say it has helped keep partisan politics out of the selection process.


sciencegeek 7 years, 1 month ago

And the consolidation of power in the hands of the Republican party continues unabated.

Hong_Kong_Phooey 7 years, 1 month ago

You nailed that on the head. Nothing says "I-want-to-stack-the-court-as-I-see-fit-so-I-can-get-my-anti-abortion-train-a-rollin" like this does.

Jimo 7 years, 1 month ago

Yes, the one shortcoming of the judicial process is that it is insufficiently partisan.

Paul R Getto 7 years, 1 month ago

Yet another bad idea from Muscular Sam.

Rick Hird 7 years, 1 month ago

This is a sad day in Kansas. An independent judiciary is one of the cornerstones of our government. Having a qualified judiciary is essential. The nominating commission process ensured that only qualified candidates were nominated. If the complaint is that lawyers constituted the majority of the nominating commission, then adjust the percentages. But don't dump the system, which has worked well. When this passes, it will allow any Republican Governor, including Gov. Brownback, to appoint whomever they want, since the Kansas Senate has been dominated by the Republican Party for literally 99% of the legislative sessions conducted since the state was founded. This is nothing more than a move to place selection of judges in the hands of the Republican Party. Very sad day in Kansas.

Evan Ridenour 7 years, 1 month ago

Yes, taking the responsibility from a (relatively) non-partisan group and handing it over to a completely partisan group will definitely make the selection of judges more open.

What a crock.

Bob_Keeshan 7 years, 1 month ago

I'm sure Senator Brownback, and political hack Stegall, were super excited to make this change under Kathleen Sebelius.

notanota 7 years, 1 month ago

Perzactly. If they didn't want to do it it with Sebelius in charge, they shouldn't force it through now.

MaryKingsley 7 years, 1 month ago

The bill's original form also provided for life-time appointments--is that still a provision? If so, the reek of this action is multiplied. At least in the current system, citizens can take a swing at retention every four years.

barlowtl 7 years, 1 month ago

A court system controlled by the ruling body is not a court system. It is getting very scary. The courts are our last defense, we lose them & it's all over. We are getting more & more like the 3rd world countries we are supposed to be liberating. Does that mean we can come home now?

matchbox81 7 years, 1 month ago

Is the same as US court judges are appointed? Selected by the executive and confirmed by the senate?

sciencegeek 7 years, 1 month ago

The scary thing about all this is that the right-wing of the GOP isn't that they're trying to take over everything, it's that they're doing it. Lie all you want to get elected, then run roughshod over fairness, decency and the Constitution. They WILL impose their view of the world on Kansas, and there's not one thing anybody can do to stop them. Even if the voters remembered their actions and voted them out--which is questionable in this state--it'll be too late. They've got 4 years to do whatever they darn well please.

If anyone knows how to stop this juggernaut, you'd better start screaming now.

Cait McKnelly 7 years, 1 month ago It's part of the state constitution. We're actually lucky here. Some states don't even have recall laws.

William Weissbeck 7 years, 1 month ago

Where is the state bar association on this? Seems to me that the licensed attorneys in Kansas probably have the same political leanings and affiliations as the population as a whole. Someone should ask Brownback why he thinks a peer group selection process for judges doesn't result in the best nominations? After all he gets to pick from 3 nominees. This is becoming typical across the nation where some/many within the GOP secretly despise lawyers, not because they are ambulance chasers, but because they are sticklers for something called the law. Of course when the need arises, the GOP and its corporations are the first to out gun their opponent with a cadre of the best lawyers that money can buy.

Paul R Getto 7 years, 1 month ago

WWWW: Good point. KBA doesn't have the teeth some would assume and not all that many attorneys compared to the total pool actually belong at any one time. I agree with your contentions, however, that "some lawyers are more equal than others." It's not fair to made broad statements, but generally, the D's like defense attorneys and the R's like corporate lawyers. Nothing wrong with that and our system is supposed to be adversarial. This move by Muscular Sam and his minions is party line from the national folks and yet another bad idea trying to solve a problem that doesn't really exist.

Jimo 7 years, 1 month ago

Wouldn't it be more efficient to auction judicial seats off to the millionaires? Why should Brownback be personally pocketing small change from these powerbrokers when the loot belongs to the people? At least that way we could fund our budget.

Cait McKnelly 7 years, 1 month ago

An interesting (and scholarly) article about ALEC (The American Legislative Exchange Council).

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