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

Jafs, do you prefer the Anglo-American common law system under which judges have openly made law for centuries or the Continental European Civil Law system which seems to reduce judicial discretion somewhat?

December 17, 2012 at 7:16 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

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

Orwell, how do you know that cronyism and money are not already big forces in our state's appellate selection process?

December 17, 2012 at 7:10 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

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

It's broken because it selects very important lawmakers in an undemocratic and secretive way.

December 16, 2012 at 2:44 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

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

Hardhawk1 are you suggesting that in the current Kansas system of bar-selected commissioners deciding on nominees in secret, well funded special interests do not play a very significant role in who gets selected to appellate judgeships? How can you be sure the current Kansas process has less risk of "justice to the highest bidder" than alternative systems? Do you know which members of the commission vote for which applicants and what deals, if any, those commissioners have made with those applicants? Is there more public disclosure of campaign contributions or of lawyers referring business to each other?

December 16, 2012 at 12:41 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

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

Volunteer could engage in reasoned debate about our state's appellate selection process by responding to these points http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2012/nov...

December 16, 2012 at 12:27 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Opinion: Chief justice defends selection system

Bozo, are you suggesting that in the current Kansas system, well funded special interests do not play a very significant role in who gets selected? Do you count as special interests the Kansas Bar Ass'n, the Kansas Trial Lawyers Association, the Kansas Association of Defense Counsel, Lathrop & Gage, etc.? How can you be sure the current Kansas process does not essentially put judgeships up for sale to the highest bidders? Do you know which members of the nominating commission vote for which applicants and what deals, if any, those commissioners have made with those applicants? Is there more public disclosure of campaign contributions or of lawyers referring business to each other?

December 16, 2012 at 11:53 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Opinion: Chief justice defends selection system

In fact, it's the bulk of Kansas lawyers who don't want competition. They're a small group with more power than people like them have in any of the other 49 states. And they don't want to open up the system to their fellow citizens.

December 16, 2012 at 11:35 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Opinion: Chief justice defends selection system

This column does not address, let alone refute, any of the main arguments for reforming the current system:
1) Appellate judges are important lawmakers so they should be selected in a process with democratic legitimacy.
2) At the center of the Kansas system is the Supreme Court Nominating Commission; most of the members of this commission are picked in elections open to only 10,000 people, the members of the state bar. The remaining 2.8 million people in Kansas have no vote in these elections. This violates basic equality among citizens, the principle of one-person, one-vote.
3) Kansas is the only state that allows the bar to select a majority of its commission.
4) Kansas not only concentrates tremendous power in a small group but allows them to exercise this power behind closed doors in a secret vote ("backroom politics" controlled by the bar).
5) There is no evidence that judges selected under this undemocratic, insular and secretive system are better at their jobs than judges selected under more open and democratic systems.

December 16, 2012 at 11:13 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Opinion: State's judge selection undemocratic

Jafs, you say that "If laws are subject to differing interpretations, each of which seems valid to intelligent people, then the legislature should clarify those laws so that's not the case." Even if you think the legislature should do this clarifying, the legislature often does not in fact do this clarifying. So appellate judges are inevitably presented with a fair number of cases in which they have significant discretion. And that's just statutory cases. The reality of judicial discretion is even greater in common law and constitutional cases. How would you try to eliminate that? Or do you accept the common law and a broadly-worded Constitution as venerable and valuable parts of our system?

December 8, 2012 at 5:24 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Opinion: State's judge selection undemocratic

Jafs, appellate judges sometimes split on the proper interpretation of a statute the legislature has enacted. In such cases, each side may contend that it is deferring to the Legislature, while the other side is substituting the judges' wishes for that of the Legislature.

December 5, 2012 at 3 p.m. ( | suggest removal )