Legislation that would change how some judges are selected in Kansas has passed the state Senate. The changes would affect how appellate and state Supreme Court judges are chosen. The proposal would give the governor the power to appoint the judges, who would then need to be confirmed by the Senate. KPR’s Stephen Koranda has this report on yesterday’s (WED) Senate debate.
The Kansas Senate has approved a proposal to give the governor and legislators more power over appointments to some state courts. Wednesday's vote on the proposed amendment to the Kansas Constitution was 28-12, slightly more than the two-thirds majority needed for passage. The measure would let the governor appoint judges to the Kansas Court of Appeals and the state Supreme Court, subject to Senate confirmation. Supporters of the change say the current system isn’t democratic enough. Senator Jeff King is a Republican from Independence.
Opponents of the change say it will insert politics into the selection of judges. The proposal would scrap an attorney-led commission that screens applicants and then nominates three finalists for each vacancy. Currently, the governor picks from those three finalists and lawmakers have no role in the process. The measure goes next to the House, where approval by a two-thirds majority would put it on a statewide ballot in 2014. Amendments to the Kansas Constitution require approval by a simple majority of voters.