When Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius appointed a Republican, Kansas Court of Appeals Judge Lee Johnson, to the state Supreme Court earlier this month, she got no props from House Speaker Melvin Neufeld, R-Ingalls. He’s still pushing for Kansas Senate hearings and confirmation of appointees to both state courts — a fading reform idea that didn’t even get as many senators’ votes last March as it had sponsors the year before. Many realize it would needlessly politicize these courts and deter top lower-court jurists and attorneys from applying. Neufeld argues that the current process gives the Kansas Bar Association too great a role in filling these positions. “That setup that we now have has evolved to a good-old-boy club,” he told the Topeka Capital-Journal. But who better than the KBA, which chooses five of the nine members on the independent nominating commission that recommends three names to the governor, to ensure that these crucial jobs go to top legal minds rather than to clueless partisan hacks?
Posted by Rhonda Holman
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