Kansas lawyers criticize proposed Supreme Court reform

(AP Photo/Topeka Capital-Journal, Thad Allton)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – Kansas lawmakers are considering changing the way state Supreme Court justices are selected, but lawyers say the move would politicize the court.

The House Judicial Committee conducted a hearing Wednesday on two measures that would amend the Kansas Constitution. One change would select Supreme Court justices in partisan elections, while the other would allow the governor to appoint them.

Representatives of three lawyers’ associations told panel that either change would weaken the independence of the judiciary.

Applicants for Supreme Court vacancies are currently screened by a nominating commission led by attorneys. The commission names three finalists, and the governor picks one.

Any amendment to the constitution must be approved by a two-thirds vote in both chambers of the Legislature and passed by a majority in a statewide referendum.

 

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

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