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Archive for Thursday, January 10, 2013

Hearings on proposals to change the way appellate judges are selected are scheduled for next week as session starts

January 10, 2013

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— Attempts to change the way appellate judges are selected will be considered during the first week of the 2013 legislative session.

The session starts Monday, and the Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled hearings for Wednesday and Thursday on a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow the governor to select justices to the Kansas Supreme Court and judges to the Kansas Court of Appeals, subject to confirmation by the Senate.

A related bill would establish a Kansas Commission on Judicial Qualifications that would assess the qualifications of the governor's selection and issue a report to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

State Sen. Jeff King, R-Independence, who is chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said Thursday that debate over the way judges are selected has been going on for years.

"The parties are very ready to be heard," King said.

The House Judiciary Committee will also conduct hearings on judicial selection proposals next week. Chairman Lance Kinzer, R-Olathe, did not return a phone call seeking comment.

The proposals being heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee would give the governor more say in picking appellate judges.

Currently, judges on the Kansas Court of Appeals and justices on the Kansas Supreme Court are chosen by the governor from a list of nominees provided by the Kansas Supreme Court Nominating Commission. After a judge or justice is appointed, he or she must stand for retention elections.

The Nominating Commission takes applications, interviews applicants, does numerous checks and forwards three names to the governor.

But conservatives have maintained that the Nominating Commission is dominated by lawyers who produce more liberal nominees.

But defenders of the system say it is based on merit and removes much of the politics from the selection process. "The current system was put in place to try to minimize the amount of political influence that goes into the selection of judges, and I think it has worked very, very well," said House Minority Leader Paul Davis, D-Lawrence.

Changing the way appeals court judges are selected would simply require a change in state law, while changing the way state Supreme Court justices are selected would require a constitutional amendment. But King said he would prefer that a constitutional amendment deal with appeals court judges too.

"The court of appeals is essential and should be recognized just like the Supreme Court," he said.

Amending the Kansas Constitution requires a two-thirds majority in the House and Senate before it can be put before voters statewide for a final decision.

Comments

Dan Eyler 1 year, 3 months ago

The latest school ruling clearly demonstrates a change in how we select judges is needed. The balance of power that these judges hold has to change. 450 million more for schools is nonsense. I for one will encourage the legislature to move quickly to put the power of the purse back in the hands of the legislature.

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hedshrinker 1 year, 3 months ago

checks and balances...brownback thinks that's an antiquated concept; he can't wait to handpick the people who now provide the only backstop to his runaway train...how can we stop this pell-mell plunge into hades with the legislature stacked?

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skull 1 year, 3 months ago

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

3

consumer1 1 year, 3 months ago

"The current system was put in place to try to minimize the amount of political influence that goes into the selection of judges, and I think it has worked very, very well," said House Minority Leader Paul Davis, D-Lawrence"

Yep it works as long as you don't care about justice within the court system. Davis is just another puppet for the weak kneed liberal agenda.

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kujayhawk7476 1 year, 3 months ago

Pro-life and pro-school voucher judges get in line over here for consideration....the rest of you can go home now.

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JackMcKee 1 year, 3 months ago

Kansas is going to get exactly what it wanted.

2

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 3 months ago

We don't need hearings for this. The new method will be whoever can get a $million or so from the Koch Bros. will get the seat.

4

Stuart Sweeney 1 year, 3 months ago

Gauranteed to be goofed up by the band of renegades in the statehouse!

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Alceste 1 year, 3 months ago

Incredible. Why hasn't brownback figured out that the way Illinois and Chicago does things work:

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-12-23/news/ct-met-supreme-judges-20121223_1_judges-chief-justice-thomas-kilbride-high-court

"The Illinois Supreme Court in the past year kept seven politically connected judges on the Cook County bench after they were rejected by voters, a common practice......

"One had given more than $20,000 to the Cook County Democratic Party. Two had connections to Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan. Others have ties to powerful Chicago Democrats who decide who gets the party's support to be judge."

Wait....it's already done that way in Kansas.....just Kansas politics don't amount to a hill of beans on the "national level". Oh well......shrug

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Cait McKnelly 1 year, 3 months ago

The Teapublicans have the upper hand and they will use it. Say goodbye to any resemblance of a real system of checks and balances.

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LJ Whirled 1 year, 3 months ago

It ain't broke; don't "fix" it.

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Hooligan_016 1 year, 3 months ago

It's just never enough for them is it? There must be ideological purity throughout the ranks. God forbid there be any other way of thought.

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