Archive for Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Letter: Kansas not following federal model for judicial selection

October 26, 2010

Kansas not following federal model for judicial selection

To the editor:

I recently received a letter asking me to oppose the election of judges. What does a mailer like this cost? Who has that kind of money and why would they want to preserve the status quo?

Kansas is not following the federal model of judicial selection and appointment. The federal model calls for Senate confirmation, the Kansas model doesn’t.

No other state provides lawyers and the bar a dominating role in the judicial selection process. The bar selects the majority of the nominating commission members. The commission picks three nominees and the governor chooses one — that’s it. Without Senate confirmation the people’s voice in the judicial selection process is non-existent.

To remove an appointed judge from office a majority must vote not to retain that judge. This has been done once in Kansas history. Why? There is little public information about appointed judges or their records. Voters have the opportunity to look at judicial performance and ask some basic questions. What is their judicial philosophy? Have they stuck to the letter of the law? Have they overturned the will of the people? The founders didn’t see judges as kings or dictators. They intended “We the People” to have the last word. Voters in Leavenworth and Atchison counties will have the opportunity to vote yes to elect district court judges. Should lawyers and the bar have the last word or should “We the People?”

Edward O’Brien

Tonganoxie

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