TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Republican Gov. Sam Brownback has riled his centrist and liberal critics by declaring that he won’t release the names of the applicants for a new seat on the Kansas Court of Appeals.
But a bigger issue fuels the angst of Brownback’s critics. They see the changes for the state’s second-highest court as part of a larger campaign to ensure that GOP conservatives take over the state’s appellate courts.
Under a law that took effect this month, Brownback will appoint Court of Appeals judges, subject to Senate confirmation. In the old system — still in place for the Kansas Supreme Court — a statewide commission screened applicants and named three finalists, with no role for legislators after the governor’s appointment.
The nominating commission served as a check on the governor’s power.