It was no surprise that Gov. Sam Brownback redacted the names of applicants for a position on the Kansas Court of Appeals when responding this week to an open-records request. Brownback has made clear that he won’t follow the long-standing practice of a bipartisan nominating commission – which previously vetted and recommended nominees – and release the names of applicants, despite claims that the new nominating process would increase transparency. The concern of the League of Women Voters of Kansas, which sought the records, is valid: How can the public evaluate whether Brownback’s nominee – his chief counsel, Caleb Stegall – is indeed the most-qualified candidate, as Brownback said, if they don’t know who else applied? Still, obtaining the records likely wouldn’t change anything. Brownback nominated who he wanted, and the Kansas Senate is expected to confirm that pick next week.
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