Comment history

Editorial: Court maneuver

Good, Bozo, that you want the vote public. Please encourage to the Kansas Bar Ass'n to stop insisting on the secrecy of the vote. And how do you propose to "tweak" the commission's selection? The devil may be in those details so until you provide those details you have not satisfied the duty of those who criticize to offer something better.

January 20, 2013 at 10:53 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Editorial: Court maneuver

Bozo, you say reform is needed so if you're going to criticize others' proposals for reform you need to come up with something better. What's your reform proposal?

January 20, 2013 at 10:27 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Editorial: Court maneuver

1. In which senate-confirmation state do you have evidence of horse trading judgeships?
2. In which senate-confirmation state do you have evidence that the justices are less capable or ethical than in Kansas?
3. What is your evidence that the current Kansas system of bar politics is any less political than a system of democratic politics, like senate confirmation?
4. How would you improve the current undemocratic, extreme and secretive process Kansas now has?

January 20, 2013 at 10:17 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Editorial: Court maneuver

The JW editorial omits three crucial facts. The current Kansas Supreme Court selection process is (1) undemocratic, (2) extreme, and (3) secretive.
1. It selects high government officials with tremendous influence over the direction and content of our state's law (Supreme Court justices) in a process that gives about 10,000 people more power than everyone else in the state combined.
2. Kansas is extreme -- the only state that allows its bar to select a majority of its supreme court nominating commission. None of the other 49 states gives its bar so much power. Kansas stands alone.
3. Not only does the bar currently exercise a tremendous amount of power, but that power is exercised behind closed doors. The Nominating Commission’s votes are secret. There is no public record of who voted which way. This secrecy prevents journalists and other citizens from learning about crucial decisions in the selection of our highest judges.
To learn more facts omitted by the JW, see http://www.kansas.com/2010/08/22/1457...

January 20, 2013 at 10:11 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Opinion: Chief justice defends selection system

The federal court did not hold that the current Kansas appellate selection system embodies the principle of “one-person, one-vote.” The federal court held that the current Kansas system is constitutional even though it violates the principle of “one-person, one-vote” by making a lawyer’s vote worth more than another citizen’s vote.

To put it another way, federal courts have interpreted the US Constitution to require that some, but not all, elections be conducted in accord with “one-person, one-vote.” So as constitutional case law stands today, states are free to adopt a judicial selection system that violates basic democratic equality (like the status quo in Kansas) or one that respects basic democratic equality (judicial elections or judicial appointments by democratically-elected officials). We can’t count on federal courts to make our state do the right thing; we need to be responsible citizens and do it ourselves.

Retention elections don’t somehow retroactively legitimize an illegitimate system of initially selecting judges. You can read more on that in this free download at pages 421-424. http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cf...

The “triple play” of the 1950’s is irrelevant as nobody is proposing a return to that system. The choice between the status quo in Kansas and a senate confirmation system (like we have for federal judges and in many other states) is whether you want the check on the governor’s appointments to be the bar or a democratically-elected body. And if you don’t want either of them, you can have judicial elections.

December 18, 2012 at 3:12 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Order in the court: Attorneys make concession in fight over judicial selection

Do you have any evidence that judges selected by a commission with bar-picked members (like Kansas has) are better than judges selected under a senate confirmation system? You refer to the "intellectual capacity of the federal judges" and they are selected in a senate confirmation system. Similarly, many states use senate confirmation. What's your evidence that those states sacrifice quality to get democratic legitimacy? http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cf...

December 18, 2012 at 2:40 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Order in the court: Attorneys make concession in fight over judicial selection

No, the KBA has not “moved a mile.” That is a gross overstatement. The KBA has not suggested or endorsed any proposal for reform. A variety of reform bills have been introduced in the legislature over the last several years and the KBA has consistently opposed them all without even once suggesting a reform that it would support. Similarly, the state’s appellate judges (in their legislative testimony and newspaper columns) have stubbornly defended the status quo, rather take the constructive approach of advocating a good alternative.

December 17, 2012 at 9:35 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Order in the court: Attorneys make concession in fight over judicial selection

Hadley, I’ve long said I prefer senate confirmation of judicial nominees (like we have in the U.S. Constitution for federal judges) to both judicial elections and nominating commissions. See http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cf...

Which do you prefer?

December 17, 2012 at 7:47 a.m. ( | suggest removal )