Professor Wants Reform of Kansas Supreme Court

A University of Kansas professor says a small group has too much control over one branch of government.

That group, says Prof. Stephen Ware, is the Kansas Bar Association, and the branch in question is judicial, the Kansas Supreme Court.

Ware spoke to the Federal Society and Americans for Prosperity Tuesday. He said the current method of nominating Kansas Supreme Court justices relies on a nominating commission, controlled by the Bar, forwarding nominees to the Governor, who then makes an appointment. He says Kansas is the only state in the country to give such control to one group.

Ware says he believes lawyers should be involved in selecting justices, but not to the extent to which they are now. He says Kansas has several options for correcting what he calls a flaw. He says Senate confirmation of the justices would ensure other groups of citizens have a say in the process. He says the nominating commission could also be changed, to reflect a broader spectrum of society.

The legislature has tried in the past to require Senate approval of Supreme Court nominees, but it has failed over concerns it would politicize the system. Ware disagrees it would make the Court more political, saying the current system has the potential to politicize it more by holding the Court accountable to one group.

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