Bad reasons for hiding judicial applicants’ names

Gov. Sam Brownback still refuses to identify applicants for the Kansas Court of Appeals’ new 14th seat – a secrecy in defiance of the 30-year practice of the statewide judicial nominating commission and last week’s plea by the League of Women Voters of Kansas. In doing so, his office points to the similar process at the federal level, not something to imitate these days. The comparison is also flawed. Federal judges do not apply for the job but are chosen by the president, often upon the recommendation of senators from the relevant states, before their nominations are vetted and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. So there are no applicants’ names to release. Likening the new process to that used for Cabinet jobs doesn’t work, either. Cabinet members serve at the pleasure of a governor. Appellate judges are supposed to serve justice.

UPDATE: The governor’s spokeswoman said Tuesday afternoon that he is considering releasing the names of applicants for the Court of Appeals after all. He should.