Judging Judicial Selection
Dan Biles to the Kansas Supreme Court is re-igniting debate over whether Kansas should change its process for selecting judges. Lawmakers have debated this for the past several years, but it has new weight because Gov. Kathleen Sebelius has now appointed four of the Court's seven members. In Kansas, those appointments are not subject to any confirmation. The critics' argument is that if a Governor has appointed a majority of the Court, he or she has the Court in his or her pocket and can affect rulings. On the flip side, supporters of the current process say that just because there's no Senate confirmation doesn't mean the system is without its checks and balances. A Supreme Court Nominating Commission accepts applications and interviews the applicants. From those applicants, they select three finalists for a Supreme Court position - two or three for District Court - and forward those names to the Governor, who must select one of those finalists for the slot. Do you think that's good enough? Senate Majority Leader Derek Schmidt doesn't. He's again advocating for Senate confirmation, saying it would add transparency to the process. However, he also expressed respect for Biles experience. So what would happen if we found ourselves in this position again. There hasn't been a huge outcry that any of Sebelius' previous appointees shouldn't have been put on the Court. If Senate confirmation was a part of the process, would we see a Senate rejecting Biles' - or any other - appointment to the Court for two years until a new Governor takes office, simply to avoid having had a single Governor make the majority of the appointments? I'd love to get your take on the situation and any ideas for changing the system.
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