Brownback wins round one of judicial reform

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, in signing legislation giving the state’s governors more power in the selection of Kansas Court of Appeals‘ judges did not move Kansas away from what he called a flawed system, but instead injected bias and politics into the appointment process.

As a result of lawsuits by several public school systems, the state has been told twice by the Kansas Court of Appeals that the Legislature has not fully funded public education as directed by the state’s funding formula. Brownback and legislators have cried foul, claiming the judges are telling the state how to spend money in violation of the state’s constitution.

The selection of judges had been done through a panel of attorneys and lay people who picked three candidates and then sent the names of those nominees to the governor who then chose one to sit on the Court of Appeals.

Now, the governor will make the selection and send the person’s name to the Senate for approval.

In years such as this, with a Republican governor and a Republican-controlled Senate, the governor’s selection virtually is a rubber-stamped process. But in years, and there have been many in Kansas, when there is a Democratic governor, this system will become extremely political with the Republican-controlled Senate balking at the governor’s choice.

In signing the bill, Brownback said that the guiding principle of America’s democracy must be that every citizen stands equal before the law and with an equal voice rather than be controlled by any special interest group.

But what he’s done is given control to governors like him and their agendas.

And he wants more control. As he pinned his signature, he instructed legislators to work on a state constitutional amendment that would change the way appointments are made to the Kansas Supreme Court. His goal is to eliminate the nominating commission, which has a majority of members elected by Kansas lawyers.

He doesn’t want a check-and-balance system. Brownback wants a system that tilts in his direction.

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  1. […] Brownback wins round one of judicial reform ( […]

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