Action Ahead to Revamp Judicial Selection in Kansas?

Capitol-from-NWHouse Republican leaders in Kansas plan to gauge support this week for proposals that could give the governor more influence in selecting state Supreme Court justices, the Associated Press reported.

Republican Gov. Sam Brownback has called the current merit selection process for Kansas justices undemocratic, but defenders of fair and impartial courts say he and his conservative allies are trying to fashion a high court that is more to their liking.

Last year, a House committee approved two competing proposals to change judicial selection, teeing them up for possible consideration by the full House. One would adopt partisan election of the justices, while the other would eliminate a judicial screening commission and make the governor’s appointments subject to state Senate confirmation.

In the Arkansas City Traveler, meanwhile, an op-ed by Mark Krusor, attorney for Cowley County, urges, “Let’s keep politics out of our courts.” Citing spending data compiled by Justice at Stake and the Brennan Center for Justice, Krusor writes, “Kansans don’t want outside special interests and the national political parties determining who is protecting our rights on our Kansas Supreme Court.”