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Archive for Thursday, July 11, 2013

Brownback will not disclose names of applicants for court position

July 11, 2013

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— Gov. Sam Brownback today announced he will not disclose the names of those applying for a position on the Kansas Court of Appeals.

“In checking with those who have already expressed interest in applying, there is a strong preference for confidentiality which we will respect," Brownback said in a statement released by his office.

“It is clear that disclosing the names of potential nominees would hurt applicant pools for future selections and this is why the American Bar Association recommends this method of selection and why the Federal judicial selection process follows this same path," he said.

On Tuesday, Brownback's spokeswoman said the governor would disclose the names because she said keeping them secret had become a distraction. But then later Tuesday, the office retracted that statement.

By not disclosing the names of those applying for an appellate court position, Brownback breaks with more than 30 years of practice in Kansas.

A new law allows the governor to make appointments to the Kansas Court of Appeals with Senate confirmation.

Previously, a statewide judicial nominating commission screened applicants and submitted the names of possible nominees to the governor. That commission had released the names of appellate court applicants since 1981 and in recent years had opened its interviews with applicants to the public.

Brownback and other conservative Republicans pushed for the change in the selection process because they said the judicial nominating commission was dominated by a small group of attorneys. Five of the commission's nine members are attorneys elected by other attorneys.

Brownback's office had argued earlier that public accountability of his nominee would occur when the Senate holds an open hearing on the appointee.

A number of groups, however, said Brownback was making the selection process more closed to the public after he and supporters of changing the selection method had complained that the former process was too secretive.

The League of Women Voters filed a request under the Kansas Open Records Act to get the names of those applying for the court seat, but Brownback's office rejected the request, saying the documents requested were not subject to the Open Records law.

Critics of Brownback's new policy said it represented a broken promise.

"When he ran for governor, Sam Brownback proclaimed that 'accountability begins with transparency,' and promised to provide that in his Road Map for Kansas," said House Minority Leader Paul Davis, D-Lawrence. "Now, as governor, he promotes and defends a policy of government behind closed doors. What is Gov. Brownback hiding? His decision to end 30 years of government transparency is a broken promise that violates our Kansas values of open, honest government," Davis said.

Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka, said he found it "ironic" that Brownback agrees with the selection process supported by the American Bar Association and the federal model of selecting judges, but not the Kansas Bar Association, which opposed the change in the law.

Hensley added, "I don't think the federal system works all that well. It has become extremely political and produced a backlog of judgeships.

"Our system had worked very well over the years. It's the old adage, `If it ain't broke don't fix it.' "

Brownback will take applications for the seat on the Kansas Court of Appeals until July 31. He has until Aug. 29 to nominate a new judge. Then the Senate will have 20 days to act on the nomination after the Legislature convenes in January, or the appointment will be considered confirmed.

Conservatives, such as Brownback have been pushing to change the selection process for both the Court of Appeals and the Kansas Supreme Court. But a change to how Supreme Court justices are picked would require two-thirds majorities in the House and Senate and a statewide vote.

So far, Brownback and his allies have been unable to muster two-thirds support in the Legislature.

Comments

Hooligan_016 1 year, 5 months ago

Oh well played, Governor. Well played. * slow clap *

avarom 1 year, 5 months ago

Why not disclose the names? Are the chosen few not qualifed?

Robert Rauktis 1 year, 5 months ago

Do you need a law degree? I have one from University of Phoenix! We've got a football stadium.

verity 1 year, 5 months ago

I might actually buy his line of reasoning if it weren't that everything he has done so far as governor has been underhanded and for the good of the Kochs, not the people of Kansas. You've lost all credibility, Mr Brownback.

4getabouit 1 year, 5 months ago

A secret government process. Sounds somewhat scary to me.

Lee Henry 1 year, 5 months ago

So the people of the great State of Kansas has no rights on what brownie wants to keep hidden from them...sounds like a cover up to protect the few and to crap on the rest of the Kansas....what's with this guy?....everything he does is fishy....

Shelley Bock 1 year, 5 months ago

In the past, names of applicants were public knowledge. Why do the names of applicants now need to be confidential? Does applying to Brownback require secrecy? When did those who wish to be members of the judiciary become such wimps? Maybe his selection process encourages those who are wimps and malleable to influence of others to apply. Or maybe just the influence of Brownback and his supporters.

jafs 1 year, 5 months ago

Well of course he won't.

Secrecy is transparency, for this administration.

George Orwell would be proud.

jafs 1 year, 5 months ago

I don't know - call them and ask.

hillsandtrees 1 year, 5 months ago

They want to see how many of them live out of state, how many have degrees from the University of Phoenix, how many have actually practiced law.

James Nelson 1 year, 5 months ago

Maybe because we are supposed to live in a free and open society where political leaders are not supposed to operate in secrecy and deceitfully.

Larry Sturm 1 year, 5 months ago

Like I have said before Brownback is the most corrupt govenor kansas has ever had.

yourworstnightmare 1 year, 5 months ago

"By not disclosing the names of those applying for an appellate court position, Brownback breaks with more than 30 years of practice in Kansas."

Conservative? I think not. Right wing liberal is more apt.

James Nelson 1 year, 5 months ago

Just looking for any way in the world to remove objectivity, even handedness and respect for precedents, while above all, keeping politics out of the court system, right Sam? Yup, we won't have a judge left who will rule for abortion, but that's all you wanted from the court system anyway, isn't it, Sam? And you will certainly get what you want if you can hand pick them, won't you, Sam? Way to go, Sam. You are well on your way to totally corrupting Kansas courts.

We might not have anybody left working for the state of Kansas running the tech side of things who knows anything about tech. Hell, we can't even contract with anyone who knows anything about tech. There is no one left at the State Board of Healing Arts who could play fair with certain doctors. The Kansas State Board of Regents may not have learned yet that their role is to protect, not undermine, Kansas colleges and universities. Sam's people in charge of promoting the arts across the state perhaps need some help with reading comprehension as the piddling sums they are giving out the next three years WILL NOT bring back the out of state grant money. Read the rules again, Sam.

I could go on and on with examples of how Brownbackistan is failing the people of Kansas. But, sadly, Sam doesn't care because he is getting the only thing that matters to him. Everyone around him, everyone he has appointed has passed the only criteria listed on his hiring guide. They all claim to be pro-lifers. And some of them believe young girls raped by their fathers or an ex-convict should be required to carry the baby to term and deliver. Sadly, some even believe it best to deliver the child even when it means the death of the mother. I wonder how many of their wives and daughters are hiding previous abortions of their own?

Will Kansas ever become too hypocritical, even for conservatives?

Brad Greenwood 1 year, 5 months ago

Thank goodness they passed this law in the interest of government transparency! Now we can all see exactly what's going on in.... well, wait a minute!

[Goes to look up "transparency" in a non-Koch edition dictionary.]

Ooooohhh! Now it all makes perfect sense!

1 year, 5 months ago

"Don't let the door hit you on the way out!" -Sam Brownback to Checks & Balances.

scott3460 1 year, 5 months ago

So, Gov, just so that I understand....the interests of the individuals who have elected to apply for the position override the public's interests in the administration of justice. Is that right?

Interesting governing perspective.

Oh well, what self respecting right wing fascist governor would want the public being able to determine that he's picked a favored influence purchaser over a more qualified applicant? That gets you kicked out of the club, right?

Obviously a great deal of thought has been given to the potential embarrassment of unsuccessful candidates. I wonder if anyone has given thought to what the selected crony will think of the likely taint he/she will carry as a result of this ham-handed move by Sammie. Will decisions carry an asterisk?

jhawkinsf 1 year, 5 months ago

So the American Bar Association advocates one system while the Kansas Bar Association advocates another. Hmmm. Seems like a legitimate debate exists amongst legitimate organizations. However, what tips the scales in this case is that Brownback supports one position, thereby giving the other more credibility.

Bob Forer 1 year, 5 months ago

Sam's subterfuge is patently transparent, After he appoints a far right ideologue with undistinguished academic credential, no judicial experience and little experience as a practicing attorney, he doesn't want the public to know he rejected several well known, distinguished and well respected attorneys and judges with superior academic credentials.

Same ole, same ole. Brownback is a lying scoundrel.

This is no different than the law recently passed prohibiting dues check offs on teacher's paychecks. The initial rationale was that the state shouldn't be funding union activity. The teacher's union responded by offering to pay the costs. So Brownback came up with a new lie. WE all know that his real motive was to destroy the teacher's union.

The new selection process was justified on the grounds that it would be more open. Yet Brownback refuses to reveal the identity of the applicants. We all know the real reason. Brownback wants to pack the court with right wing extremists.

Brownback want's to force his narrow right wing extremist philsohpy on the entire state. Poor Sammy. He was born at the wrong time and in the wrong country. He would have made a fine communist or fascist.

oldexbeat 1 year, 5 months ago

Liar Sam, the 'leader' of Brownbackistan -- just doesn't want to embaress all the Kochs and Klines that applied -- and didn't make the cut. Saves face for lots of rich people. Keeps the donations coming in -- you know like "sure you were on the (unpublished) list..." Etc.

Just like the non-Republican Republican on the 6 Republicans (legal limit five) board of regents -- lies are just fine for Brownback. God tells him (i mean Kochs ) what to do.

notajayhawk 1 year, 5 months ago

Oh, I just love seeing all the same people who fawn on their Lord and Savior Obama, despite his record of lies and broken campaign promises (particularly when it comes to "transparency"), whining and moaning because our governor is - appropriately - respecting the privacy of job applicants. Tell you what: When I see you all demanding that Obama releases the names of all applicants to all federal benches so we can see who HE rejected in favor of his politically-preferred choices, then you might have a leg to stand on while you're griping.

oldexbeat 1 year, 5 months ago

Gee you seem to overlook that this lack of information from Sammy was the change. Before, we had all the nomination in public. I didn't talk about anything national, nor about the President. I'm just talking about what was being done before in Kansas and what is being done now in Brownbackistan. I'm demanding that we keep the good and open system we had, not the new and secret system that seems OK with Sam.

verity 1 year, 5 months ago

Name names if you're going to make that kind of statement. Who, on these boards, fawns over Obama? Who, on this comment thread, fawns over Obama?

Who, on these boards, has ever called Obama Lord and Savior? Really? Who, that is, besides the right wing people who have to try to make people believe this because they've got nothing else?

WirePaladin 1 year, 5 months ago

I remember. He said it was because he wanted the system to be more transparent and not in the hands of just a few special people. If you believe he did this in your interest, you couldn't be more disillusioned. He did it so he could have more control over the courts. Trying a smoke screen bringing in the Federal card is laughable. Stay on target!

I think most people are starting to realize what a mistake this Kansas administration is. How it's been hijacked by an ultra right wing horde, the new GOP.

I also remember the big promotion during the midterms about Jobs, Jobs, Jobs and why.we should put them in power. The lemmings bought it and they got in and then what the did they say their number one priority was? And how many times and how much money have they wasted trying to overturn ACA? And what is their program? I don't recall hearing an alternative solution do you?. And where are all the jobs bills they promised?

Just look around you and how all these GOP Govenors are parroting themselves in similar legislations. It's almost like some one told them what to push. Break the unions, voter fraud, abortion. Where are the Jobs bills? Where is their solution to ACA?

I'm just glad they are letting me out of state taxes now. A couple of years and I can afford to move out of this state. Yep, that making businesses want to move is working Gov. I'm considering packing my business up and moving out of here. Our neighbor state has 2.9% sales tax, Oregon is looking a free tuition program to get more a educated population.

What do you have to offer me Gov?

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