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Archive for Saturday, August 3, 2013

Hensley wants Brownback to speed Court of Appeals nomination

August 3, 2013

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TOPEKA — The Kansas Senate’s top Democrat called Friday for Republican Gov. Sam Brownback to name a new state Court of Appeals judge three weeks early to give lawmakers additional time to vet the nominee ahead of a special legislative session in September.

Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley said he wants Brownback to nominate the judge by Aug. 9. The deadline set by state law is Aug. 29, and the special session is set to begin Sept. 3.

“The sooner, the better,” said Hensley, a Topeka Democrat. “Three weeks would allow us to do some research on their background.”

Brownback spokeswoman Eileen Hawley said the governor will select a new judge for the state’s second-highest court “as quickly as he can.”

But she added, “You can’t create an artificial deadline because you have to go through due diligence and allow sufficient vetting and interviews.”

Brownback called the special session for legislators to rewrite a law that allows judges to sentence some convicted murderers to serve at least 50 years in prison, following a U.S. Supreme Court decision in June raising questions about the statute’s constitutionality. With lawmakers in session, the Senate is legally required to consider pending appointments, rather than waiting until the Legislature’s next regular session starts in January.

Hensley has accused Brownback of scheduling the special session so that senators and others have only a few days after he names an appeals judge to examine the nominee’s background. Brownback and fellow Republican leaders in the GOP-dominated Legislature have been adamant that they want the special session to last only a few days.

Hawley has called Hensley’s allegation “ridiculous.” Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Jeff King, an Independence Republican, promised the most thorough confirmation hearing “in recent memory” for the court appointee and said Hensley’s suggestion that the nominee would escape scrutiny was “patently absurd.”

Hensley sent a letter Friday to King, noting King’s statements and asking him to push Brownback to make the court appointment by Aug. 9 if King is “actually sincere” about a thorough vetting. Hensley sent a copy to Brownback’s office.

The Court of Appeals appointment is receiving unusual attention because it’s the first under a law taking effect last month, having the governor appoint the judges subject to Senate confirmation. Under the old system, still in place for the Kansas Supreme Court, a nominating commission screened applicants and named three finalists, with no role for lawmakers after the governor’s appointment.

Comments

James Nelson 1 year, 4 months ago

When you have a governor who is hell bent on politicizing the selection of judges in a system where there is far less opportunity for public vetting one can only assume less opened minded and less qualified people will be selected. Stalin and Hitler were especially good at this.

kansanjayhawk 1 year, 4 months ago

It would appear, that in this case, it is Hensley and the D's who are politicizing the selection process, what is the real issue here? The Republicans certainly have the votes in the Kansas Senate to confirm any nominee that the Governor submits why politicize the process unless it is merely a political move...by Hensley.

chootspa 1 year, 4 months ago

If they have all the votes they need, why rush the process through without allowing any time for vetting? For that matter, why make the special session on the taxpayer's increasingly precious dime for something that could have waited until the regular session?

question4u 1 year, 4 months ago

"Brownback and fellow Republican leaders in the GOP-dominated Legislature have been adamant that they want the special session to last only a few days." BUT "Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Jeff King, an Independence Republican, promised the most thorough confirmation hearing “in recent memory” for the court appointee..."

No...wait...this isn't really a contradiction. Yes, the session will be quick, but since the Kansas Senate has NEVER held this kind of confirmation ("the Court of Appeals appointment is receiving unusual attention because it’s the first under a law taking effect last month") then King is technically right. Even if/when they rubber-stamp the approval without scrutiny, it will be "the most thorough confirmation hearing 'in recent memory.'"

Way to go Mr. King! Now you're speaking Brownbackese, the official language of Brownbackistan. If you had said the "most thorough Senate confirmation hearing EVER for a Kansas Court of Appeals appointee," that would have been self-defeating, since that might have made people wonder and then realize that there is, in fact, no precedent. By saying "in recent memory" you did a great job of obscuring the facts while seeming to promise something more than you actually are promising. You're also quite convincing when you imply that your "recent memory" actually doesn't include any recollection of the law that you helped pass earlier this year.

Keep practicing that Brownbackese and in a few years you'll be as fluent as Flim-Flam Sam himself!

jimmyjms 1 year, 4 months ago

"But she added, “You can’t create an artificial deadline because you have to go through due diligence and allow sufficient vetting and interviews.”

Uh huh, right.

"Hawley has called Hensley’s allegation “ridiculous.” Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Jeff King, an Independence Republican, promised the most thorough confirmation hearing “in recent memory” for the court appointee and said Hensley’s suggestion that the nominee would escape scrutiny was “patently absurd.”

If you believe a word these people say, I've got some property I'd like to show you.

Richard Heckler 1 year, 4 months ago

Sam Brownback is playing Washington D.C. games in Kansas. This is exactly the type of behavior the right wing party teaches in Washington D.C. in which Sam Brownback was a player.

In fact this crap is going in D.C. as we speak. A behavior which is counter productive and promotes polarization.

Why would Kansas ever vote right wing party or Sam Brownback ever again? Any current legislator or new nominees that either are backing Brownback or come with Brownback support should never be re-elected or elected. Right wing IS NOT republican.

kansanjayhawk 1 year, 3 months ago

Hmm??--And you do not think the left plays these games? I think Obama and Co. wrote the Chicago book on politics and it is hardball! Wake up!

Claudean McKellips 1 year, 4 months ago

Why can't he come clean about the judge, like every other Governor before him? What is he hiding? The judge is not qualified, and he cannot pass the vetting?

Ira Rott 1 year, 4 months ago

Predicting he will release the names August 29th at 5PM.

William Weissbeck 1 year, 4 months ago

Bets? Nominee named after 5:00 PM on a Friday. Hearings on Monday, vote of Tuesday. Start overturning past court decisions on Wednesday. Proves - no rest for the wicked.

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