Charting a New Course in Choosing Kansas Court of Appeals Judges

July 1, 2013

As IAALS Online covered back in March, the Kansas legislature adopted a new process for choosing intermediate appellate court judges in the 2013 session. A judicial nominating commission will no longer screen applicants and recommend the best qualified to the governor for appointment; rather, the governor will make the appointment with full discretion, which must then be confirmed by the senate. With the addition of a fourteenth seat on the court of appeals, this process will kick into gear on July 1. But Governor Brownback has announced a new wrinkle—i.e., the names of applicants for the position will not be made public. By supreme court rule, the nominating commission had made public the names of judicial applicants to encourage citizen scrutiny and input. Some point out that this new approach mirrors that of the President in appointing federal judges, but others express concern about the lack of transparency.