Brownback once criticized judicial nomination stealth

When President George W. Bush nominated his legal counsel, Harriet Miers, to the U.S. Supreme Court, then-Sen. Kansas Sam Brownback complained about Miers’ lack of a judicial record and the White House’s unwillingness to release information about her work. “Why do you need stealth?” Brownback asked at the time. That makes Brownback’s nomination last week of his own legal counsel, Caleb Stegall (in photo), to the Kansas Court of Appeals a strange “deja vu role reversal,” wrote Tim Carpenter for the Topeka Capital-Journal. Stegall also doesn’t have a judicial record, and Brownback isn’t providing information about Stegall’s work in the executive branch (or releasing the names of other applicants for the court opening). “The governor is setting precedent in Kansas by placing a lid on unwelcomed requests for executive branch information capable of helping the public clarify a nominee’s record,” Carpenter wrote, adding that “this new mantra of stealth, in Kansas judicial circles, could be called the Stegall Rule.”