Archive for Wednesday, July 3, 2013

League of Women Voters seeks to get names of judicial applicants from Brownback

July 3, 2013


— The Kansas League of Women Voters has filed a request under state law to try to get Gov. Sam Brownback to disclose the names of those applying for a judicial position on the Kansas Court of Appeals.

Brownback, who will make the judicial appointment, has refused to divulge the names of applicants.

Prior to this year, appointments to the Kansas Supreme Court and Court of Appeals were made by the governor from a list of nominees provided by a nominating commission. That commission had since 1981 revealed the names of those applying.

But Brownback and his allies changed that law this year to give the governor the power to fill positions on the Court of Appeals pending confirmation by the state Senate. Supporters of changing that law said the nominating commission process was too closed off to the public and that the new system mirrored that used on the federal level.

Using the Kansas Open Records Act, the Kansas League of Voters, with 700 members in 10 local leagues, has asked Brownback for the names of applicants for the vacancy.

"Seeking transparency in government on behalf of League members throughout Kansas, I look forward to receiving your response to our request," said the filing from Dolores Furtado, president of the League of Women Voters of Kansas.

But Eileen Hawley, a spokeswoman for Brownback, defended keeping the names of applicants secret. "This process provides transparency and accountability while maintaining confidentiality to these judicial applicants and ensuring our ability to have a broad pool of highly qualified candidates," Hawley said.

Brownback's office disseminated to the media copies of an article from the conservative National Review's website that described as "silly" criticisms of Brownback over not disclosing the names of the judicial applicants.

"The new process being used for Kansas Court of Appeals appointments mirrors the advice-and-consent process set forth in the U.S. Constitution. I don’t recall any major advocacy organizations, in Kansas or elsewhere, calling on President Obama to make the names of his judicial applicants public," the article states.


JayhawkFan1985 4 years, 11 months ago

The Koch brothers and the Kansas policy institute have funded a website at I wonder why this radical fringe group isn't clamoring for a more open government...

Kirk Larson 4 years, 11 months ago

Because they probably have the list of applicants. Heck, they probably drew it up.

Janis Pool 4 years, 11 months ago

I refuse to answer the marketing questions so that I may read the news.

costello 4 years, 11 months ago

I just click randomly on the answers without reading the questions until the box goes away.

Maracas 4 years, 11 months ago

But you want to let us all know that you refuse, amirite?

Pr0digy 4 years, 11 months ago

Firefox with both AdBlock Plus and Ghostery extensions installed and its like the surveys were never here ;)

JayhawkFan1985 4 years, 11 months ago

You do have to love the Orwellian use of language..."greater transparency through confidentiality."

costello 4 years, 11 months ago

I love the fact that we're protecting the confidentiality of the judicial applicants. They're a fragile group of shrinking violets, these contenders for a highly visible position.

I wonder if the applicants are allowed to out themselves? Or are they sworn to secrecy?

smileydog 4 years, 11 months ago

The League is just a liberal front group that claims to be non-partisan.

hillsandtrees 4 years, 11 months ago

The League has members who are Republican, Democrat, Libertarians, and unaffiliated. Their Mission Statement: "a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy."

Issues are studied for months or years before a policy statement is developed. Open government, conservation of natural resources, inclusion, and equal treatment are often guiding principles.

The League has questions for this current Kansas Administration as they seem to be more inclined toward secrecy, destroying natural resources, exclusion, and unequal treatment.

Kirk Larson 4 years, 11 months ago

For decades the League was a responsible, non-partisan organization dedicated to making elections free and fair. They used to run the candidate debates for Presidential elections. They were much more substantial back then. Then the parties took them over and they are mushy-headed media circuses now.

Lee Henry 4 years, 11 months ago

What's brownie trying to hide???whats the big secret...doesn't want the voters in the great State of Kansas to know his and the koch boys goings on....something is amiss...the whole State ought to be in an uproar about this.....who does he think he is, God ....the voters better remember this when he next runs for office.......let's keep it a secret how we vote gang.....

Bob Reinsch 4 years, 11 months ago

Difference is Brownback has a legislature that will rubber-stamp approve anything that he wants to do, while the President can't get a single piece of legislation pushed through, including a budget, because the Republican-controlled House won't allow anything to get through that might appear as an acceptance of Obama's authority as President. How many times have they voted to repeal ACA? 33?

optimist 4 years, 11 months ago

The President coulnd't get a budget passed in either of his first two years in office when his party held a majority in both houses. It's never his fault, right?

Joe Hyde 4 years, 11 months ago

Brownback spokesperson Ms. Hawley says: "This process," (the governor refusing to name the applicants)* "provides transparency...while ensuring our ability to have a broad pool of highly qualified candidates."

No, Ms. Hawley; you're dead wrong. The "process" you've made yourself a party to will institutionalize a cloak of secrecy and enable outside control of court decisions, both of which threaten the very foundation of democracy in the state of Kansas. Your twisted logic in defending the governor's dictatorial behavior is outrageous and despicable.

Liberty275 4 years, 11 months ago

Does Kansas law say he needs to name people that applied for the job?

jafs 4 years, 11 months ago

Don't know.

But a secret process is, by definition, not transparent, right?

Liberty275 4 years, 11 months ago

I suppose not. To publish a list of people applying for a job seems to invade their privacy Would you like it published if you were applying for a job?

They do open themselves up to some scrutiny by applying for jobs with the government, but so do teachers. Should I be able to request a list of everyone applying to Teach in Kansas? How about if the Koch guys lend me a few million so I can have detectives follow them for a reason to deny them a job?

I think we should do what the law requires primary to any consideration of transparency.

jafs 4 years, 11 months ago

Well, then he shouldn't have promised to make the process more transparent, if he was in fact going to make it less so.

Otherwise, he got support for it based on a false premise.

With participatory democracy, there is some reason for citizens to have input on a variety of things, like these sorts of nominations, I think.

But, if you believe otherwise, that's your right, and I have no problem with it - but, you wouldn't claim that a change in that direction was a change in the direction of more transparency, I hope.

hillsandtrees 4 years, 11 months ago

The previous process disclosed the names of all the applicants. The applicants didn't seem to have a problem then. Not disclosing them now is a step in the wrong direction.

ebyrdstarr 4 years, 11 months ago

Applying to be an appellate court judge is substantially different from applying to be a teacher. An appellate court judge will have a direct say in public policy matters that we all live with. I don't think there is any right to privacy involved in seeking such a public position.

Liberty275 4 years, 11 months ago

OK, but I think there is always a right to privacy unless you surrender that right by applying for a job or whatever. Would-be justices and teachers have at least one thing in common, 4th amendment rights.

ebyrdstarr 4 years, 11 months ago

Sure, agreed. But so people who have applied for the appellate court have surrendered their right to privacy as far as that application goes.

Liberty275 4 years, 11 months ago

It would be hard to do background checks without permission, but if the government is given the authority to do such checks, do they automatically have the authority to make any info public?

I say do whatever the law say's to do.

ebyrdstarr 4 years, 11 months ago

There's a big difference between releasing the info uncovered in a background check and releasing the names of the applicants. Kansans are used to knowing who applied for the position. Not being given that information now is frustrating. I'm not asking to know the applicants' private health information or details of their divorces; I'm asking to know who they are. Yes, the governor has the authority to release that information to the public.

chootspa 4 years, 11 months ago

If it's unimportant information that nobody cares about, why keep it secret?

chootspa 4 years, 11 months ago

You could just as easily change the subject with a bunch of irrelevant arguments, sure. But it wouldn't answer the question.

Liberty275 4 years, 11 months ago

Under what name did you last apply for a job and where?

chootspa 4 years, 11 months ago

There's a reason working for the private sector has its perks.

Larry Sturm 4 years, 11 months ago

Brownback is the most corrupt govenor Kansas has ever had.

JayhawkFan1985 4 years, 11 months ago

Making up facts or parroting faux news doesn't make your ridiculous claims true...

overthemoon 4 years, 11 months ago

No. In fact he did none of them except curtailing white house visits. You need to get updated with the real news, not the parallel universe of fox news.

overthemoon 4 years, 11 months ago

For instance. Read this article Carefully and in full. And then you might want to read the transcripts of the Senate hearing that Issa refused to release. It is very clear that the Pesident had nothing to do with IRS reviews for tax-exempt status and that group targeting took place on a wide variety of organizations. AND that the 'investigator' Issa hired to dig up the info was told to look only for Tea Party groups and no other organizations. Scandal? Yep. And its name is Issa.

overthemoon 4 years, 11 months ago

Issa requested information ONLY on Tea Party groups and specifically asked that any other targeted inquiries be left out. Sorry, the New York times is more trustworthy by a magnitude of thousands than anything from any Fox affiliated or allied source. Not perfect, but far, far better than the party microphone at Fox. They (Fox) even admit to it.

overthemoon 4 years, 11 months ago

I can't believe you're still using totally debunked info. The IRS chief was cleared for events or meetings at the white house, like hundreds of other people who would be on possible attendee lists. He actually went there 11 or so times. For a variety of meetings and not necessarily with the President.

chootspa 4 years, 11 months ago

You do realize that Jon Stewart has been out of the country for the summer, and the links you're trying to debunk with this dated video are actually more current, right?

chootspa 4 years, 11 months ago

Some of us don't live in a low information world where we shut our ears after the first details of a news story break and don't bother to get any updates if they conflict with our worldview. The IRS targeted groups using BOLO lists with keywords. Some groups were tea party. Some were liberal. Some were neither. Issa suppressed the parts of the testimony that made it obvious no vast conspiracy was going on, and as soon as the news broke, he tried to change the subject. You've been played.

I believe the Orwell novel you were actually trying to reference is 1984, where Newspeak is used to intentionally narrow independent thought and revised news stories totally negate past reporting. An ironic reference for a Fox viewer, I might add. We've always been at war with Eastasia. In Animal farm, it wasn't the news that was revised but the seven commandments. Some animals are more equal than others.

overthemoon 4 years, 11 months ago

The times is highly critical of Obama, by the way. But you wouldn't know that if you don't read it.

JayhawkFan1985 4 years, 11 months ago

Except it has been proven that president Obama did none of the things you fantasize. Just because a bear craps in the woods didn't mean President Obama personally fed him berries, honey and salmon.

jafs 4 years, 11 months ago

There are two issues here - one is that he promised a more transparent process, and then replaced it with a less transparent one - that's a clear problem.

The other is whether or not the process needs to be transparent, which is a different issue.

If the idea was to allow state residents more input, then not releasing names goes counter to that goal, since we can't have input if we don't know who the possible nominees are.

tomatogrower 4 years, 11 months ago

"Supporters of changing that law said the nominating commission process was too closed off to the public and that the new system mirrored that used on the federal level."

I thought Brownback despised the federal government? I thought his supporters despised Obama? Now they want to be just like him? And by the way, at the federal level, this has always been the tradition. In Kansas where we used to have transparency and common sense it was not the tradition. Now though Brownback and his puppeteers are determined to change everything, even if it worked just fine. Wow.

tomatogrower 4 years, 11 months ago

Isn't funny that Brownback and his radical crew want to change for changes sake. Many of the things he has changed worked quite well. Yet they call themselves "conservatives", see definition below. They have changed Jesus' message of love and charity to one of hate and greed. They want to limit freedoms of people who are different than they are. They preach small government, but then tell people, women especially, how to run their lives. Doesn't sound like the definition of conservative to me.

/kənˈsərvətiv/ Adjective Holding to traditional attitudes and values and cautious about change or innovation, typically in politics or religion. Noun A person who is averse to change and holds to traditional values and attitudes, typically in politics.

verity 4 years, 11 months ago

Brownback and the current crew in charge in Topeka are not conservative or Conservative and the Kochs are not libertarian or conservative.

One could call them any number of things and be correct, but conservative and/or libertarian would not be on that list.

But they've managed to fool a whole lot of people.

I would argue with them wanting change for change sake. There is an agenda behind everything they do and that agenda does not include making Kansas a better place for most of us. A person can only do what they're doing if they feel that others are not really human and that they are "special" and deserve to have others live for their benefit. Reminds me of how things were in the dark and middle ages, where the lives of most people were expendable.

We got rid of a monarchy 237 years ago. Isn't that what we're celebrating today?

Nikonman 4 years, 11 months ago

The League of Women Voters is about as non-partisan as the ACLU.

overthemoon 4 years, 11 months ago

Yep. They want equal access to voting rights for all Americans. Dang Liberals.

jafs 4 years, 11 months ago

I know, right? Just like that awful ACLU that wants to protect our constitutional rights (interesting that's now a "liberal" thing).

verity 4 years, 11 months ago

They should only be protecting right wing views, otherwise they're partisan---Oh, wait---never mind.

optimist 4 years, 11 months ago

"But Brownback and his allies changed that law this year to give the governor the power to fill positions on the Court of Appeals pending confirmation by the state Senate." This is another shining example of bias in reporting. This change occurred through proper legislative channels. There was nothing improper about it though there is clearly an implication that there is. To characterize it in this fashion reflects the writer’s bias. The more objective way to provide this information might be..."The legislature passed a bill and the Governor signed it changing the way openings on the Court of Appeals are filled." I for one think this was a good change that does open the opportunity up to more candidates. I'm not sure that the public should be made aware of the identities of those that apply if they aren't selected. Until they are selected they have every reason to expect privacy.

hillsandtrees 4 years, 11 months ago

I see that this new process could open up for more candidates -candidates that are not as qualified. Open to candidates that only have to meet the Governor's political views instead to candidates that had to meet the broad range of experience and expertise required of the merit selection process.

verity 4 years, 11 months ago

I think that's the point---of everything Brownback does.

Claudean McKellips 4 years, 11 months ago

For thirty years we have had transparency in this process and qualified applicants. This governor and his sleazy tactics have got to go! With a 30% approval rate, we have to be able to find a better candidate.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 11 months ago

One thing I hope the League does is to see how long the applicants might have lived in Kansas.

Brownback has a thing for importing sheep....

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