Senate confirms Brownback’s choice of Stegall

By Tim Carpenter
Topeka Capitol Journal Online

The Senate delivered an overwhelming and partisan vote Wednesday confirming Gov. Sam Brownback’s nomination of the administration’s top lawyer for a vacancy on the Kansas Court of Appeals.

Debate fixated on the merits of Brownback’s newly acquired power to unilaterally control nominations to the Court of Appeals and to a lesser extent the qualities of Caleb Stegall, who was viewed by Republicans and Democrats as possessing intellectual firepower and varied legal experience to serve capably on the bench. Continue reading

Other views…

Irony swirls around Brownback’s cloak of judicial secrecy

By Columnist Tim Carpenter
Topeka Capital Journal

Gov. Sam Brownback’s nomination of the administration’s general counsel to a seat on the Kansas Court of Appeals serves as deja vu role reversal circa 2005.

Eight years ago, Brownback was a member of the U.S. Senate’s judiciary committee and leader of the  GOP revolt against President George W. Bush’s nomination of Harriet Miers to the U.S. Supreme Court. She was the president’s White House counsel.

The senator was vexed about Bush’s refusal to release documents related to Miers’ work in the White House. Of primary concern, in terms of Brownback, was validity of Miers’ pro-life record.

Brownback has proven during his years in the U.S. Senate and as Kansas governor that he believes the Roe vs. Wade decision legalizing abortion in 1973 shouldn’t be considered “settled law” in the United States. He seeks an end to abortion in America. Continue reading

Brownback has signed 18 bills

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback signed 11 bills into law Tuesday, bringing the total number of bills signed by the governor during the 2013 Legislative Session to 18.

  • HB 2007 establishes the Insurance Holding Company Act and amends the Insurance Code to modify existing provisions governing insurance holding companies.
  • HB 2030 authorizes the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism to issue up to ten wounded warrior deer permits each calendar year to disabled veterans who sustained injuries in combat and have a service-connected disability of not less than 30% through a random drawing if the number of eligible individuals exceeds ten. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

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