Kansas Supreme Court Under Political Attack Again

Critic say Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is injecting politics into the Kansas judicial branch with criticism of the quality of the state Supreme Court judges.

According to Hutchnews.com, Kobach is calling for a change to the merit selection system of choosing state Supreme Court justices – this time making claims that Kansas federal judges are better qualified because they go through a Senate confirmation process.

That assertion is simply not true say fair court advocates.

“Secretary of State Kobach is once again meddling with the judicial branch and trying to bring politics into our courts. Our current system was put in place in 1956 following a political scandal involving appointments to the high court by the then-governor in what became known as the ‘Triple-Play.’ Our current selection system has proven to be the best way to ensure quality judges are on the bench and the threats of politicization are minimized,” Ryan Wright, Executive Director of Kansans for Fair Courts, told Gavel Grab.

“For 47 years as a lawyer, teacher and law dean I have closely observed the Kansas Supreme Court,” said Martin Dickinson, a longtime member of the University of Kansas law school faculty. “The only common denominator is that those elevated to the Supreme Court have been professionals dedicated to the rule of law, regardless of politics.”

Cjonline.com reports that in 2013, the Kansas Legislature replaced the judicial nominating commission with the federal model for appointments to the Kansas Court of Appeals. That reform only required passage of a law, while altering the selection method for the state Supreme Court requires a Constitutional Amendment.

A Justice at Stake poll shows that 61% of Kansans are against amending the Constitution to change how Supreme Court justices are selected.