Archive for Friday, December 28, 2012

Letter: Merit system

December 28, 2012


To the editor:

Gov. Brownback’s proposed changes to the selection of Kansas judges undermine current constitutional guarantees. In 1958, the Kansas Constitution provided a “merit system” for selecting justices of the Kansas Supreme Court. In 1972, this option was extended to district court judges. In 1977, the state Court of Appeals was formed by law, also using the merit system for selecting judges.

Our founders realized the value of forming three, co-equal but independent branches of government — executive, legislative and judicial — to assure fair and reasonable laws without any one branch of government dominating or over-exercising its constitutional powers. These “checks and balances” have served Kansas resident well. Why, then, is Gov. Brownback pushing legislators to change this very effective merit process to political appointment?

As a citizen, you have a right to a fair and impartial hearing when you go to court. You expect the judge hearing your case to uphold the law and issue a ruling free of any outside influence, including that of the governor. The best argument for maintaining our merit system was given by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy: “Judicial independence is not for judges to do as they choose, but to do as they must” (C-Span, August 2005).

We appeal to you to talk with your legislators before the 2013 legislative session starts and urge them not to pass laws that would change our current judicial selection system and put the impartiality of our judges at risk.


Paul R Getto 4 years, 10 months ago

Good points. This is a critical fight. Retain the present system.

Abdu Omar 4 years, 10 months ago

With a house and senate majority following each action of Brownback, do you really think they will vote against his wishes? We, the people, can not only speak out, but we can shout out to them but they are sworn to follow the republican mantra and do whatever the governor wants. This is the shame of our legislature, we have no opposition. The people of Kansas want to railroad everything through, no debate, no descention, no real democracy.

Paul R Getto 4 years, 10 months ago

WS: Sadly, you are probably right. It will take at least a generation to undo the damage Muscular Sam and his weird little jesus are doing to the state. If he wins another term, it might take 50 years. Zeus help us.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 4 years, 10 months ago

Many of us feel the same way about our food stamp president...

voevoda 4 years, 10 months ago

The Kansas Legislature passed a law that explicitly Kansas prohibits courts from invoking any law other than that of the state of Kansas and the United States of America. They intended to forestall any use of Islamic Shar'ia law (not that there was any possibility of that happening, anyway), but since it would violate the First Amendment to single out Islam, the Legislature prohibited all religious law, which includes Christian law. Consequently, lawrenceguy40, it would be illegal for Kansas judges, no matter how they are appointed, to base their decisions on "the rule of God." Any legal decision so based would be subject to appeal and would necessarily be overturned.

bearded_gnome 4 years, 10 months ago

Wounded-souldier, our kansas state house iis the expression of kansas democracy.

we voted them in. as in many other states, kansas actually became redder in the legislature. many states became redder in their legislatures and governorships.

and, this letter conflates three different narrative perspectives. it blurs national and state jurisdictions. and it includes at least one typo.
is the lawyer-closed system properly called a merrit system?

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