Conservative Johnson County Groups Unite in Call for Judicial Selection Reform

Five local area conservative organizations joined together Wednesday in a joint statement calling upon the Kansas Legislature to adopt a Constitutional Amendment to change how the Kansas Supreme Court is selected in Kansas. The organizations asked for the method of selection to move from the current system to one based on the federal model, in which the Governor would select the nominee of his/her choice, subject to confirmation by the Kansas Senate.

The five organizations signing onto the joint statement are the Northwest Johnson County Republicans, the Olathe Republican Party, the Northeast Johnson County Conservatives, the Conservative Republicans of Southern Johnson County, and the Gardner-Edgerton Republican Party. The statement reads as follows:

"For over 50 years, the State of Kansas has had a system in place for selecting justices to the Kansas Supreme Court which is undemocratic and renders control of an entire branch of government to an unelected, unaccountable, and unrepresentative interest group - lawyers, and only those lawyers who choose to vote in the selection process.

"By controlling five of the nine seats on the nominating commission, members of the bar are able to control the process from start to finish without any say from the public or their elected representatives. While a few other states have a nominating commission, Kansas stands alone by allowing the bar to command an entire branch of government.

"The consequences of this flawed system are now obvious, and it must be changed.

"We witnessed this a few years ago with the Montoy decision, in which the Kansas Supreme Court usurped the power of the purse from the legislature, and saw it again just last week when the United States Supreme Court, in an astonishing 8-1 ruling, rejected the edict by the Kansas Supreme Court in the Carr Brothers death penalty decision.

"What we are calling for is not radical, but a modest change to what many other states have sensibly adopted, and that is the federal model. Under the improved model, the governor would select a nominee subject to confirmation by the Kansas Senate. Then, the voters would be able to express their will at the next election on whether to retain the justice for that term.

"Of course, any adoption of a Constitutional Amendment would require a vote of the people to make the final determination. We think this reasonable system should be placed before the people of Kansas for a vote this November, and we call upon the members of the Kansas Legislature to vote to do so."