Kansas House Panel Passes Judicial Selection Change

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TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ A state House committee has endorsed a proposed change in the Kansas Constitution to give the governor and legislators more power over appellate court appointments.

The measure advanced Wednesday by the Judiciary Committee would allow governors to name whomever they want to fill vacancies on the state Court of Appeals and Supreme Court. The appointments would require Senate confirmation.

The measure would scrap the statewide, attorney-led commission that screens applicants for the appellate courts and names three finalists for the governor. The current selection system has no role for lawmakers.

The Judiciary Committee's voice vote in favor of the measure sent it to the full House for debate.

Supporters said the measure will make judicial selection more open. Critics said the change will make the courts less independent.