Archive for Monday, February 1, 2016

Kansas House GOP testing support for Supreme Court changes

February 1, 2016

TOPEKA — Top Republicans in the Kansas House plan to test support this week for changing how state Supreme Court justices are selected.

House Speaker Ray Merrick said Monday that GOP leaders want to see "where people are" on the issue. House Republicans have scheduled Tuesday and Wednesday caucuses to discuss judicial selection.

Republican Gov. Sam Brownback has repeatedly called for changing how the justices are selected. He calls the current system undemocratic, but changing it will require amending the state constitution.

A nominating commission led by lawyers screens applicants for Supreme Court vacancies and submits three finalists to the governor. The governor must pick one, and there is no role for legislators.

Some Republicans want to abolish the commission and have the governor make the appointments, subject to state Senate confirmation.

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