www.mozilla.com Weather Central
Voices
Headlines

Eyeing the children -7/30/2014, 9:01 AM

Speak from the heart -7/30/2014, 9:01 AM

Changing attitudes -7/30/2014, 9:01 AM

Time to replace Huelskamp -7/30/2014, 9:00 AM

Water vision -7/29/2014, 9:48 AM

No longer a supporter -7/29/2014, 9:47 AM

The power of punctuation -7/29/2014, 9:47 AM

Running for the wrong bus -7/28/2014, 9:04 AM

Old Old Mexico -- Culture and content -7/28/2014, 9:03 AM

The defining issue of economic recovery -7/27/2014, 4:53 PM

In a world of sectarian violence, what can be done? -7/27/2014, 4:53 PM

Funding DHDC -7/27/2014, 1:18 PM

Endorsement for Shultz -7/25/2014, 3:28 PM

Against the wind -7/25/2014, 4:23 PM

Do blacks need favors? -7/25/2014, 4:23 PM

Vote Huelskamp out -7/25/2014, 4:23 PM

Open meetings -7/24/2014, 8:07 AM

Leadership change needed -7/24/2014, 8:07 AM

Vote for Huelskamp -7/24/2014, 8:06 AM

Protecting unborn children -7/24/2014, 8:06 AM

Learning experience valuable -7/24/2014, 8:06 AM

False equivalence -7/23/2014, 8:07 AM

Measles' scary comeback -7/23/2014, 1:27 PM

The 'big data' deal -7/23/2014, 10:07 AM

GOP can't get out of its own way -7/23/2014, 10:07 AM

War only will add to Middle East problems -7/22/2014, 8:10 AM

Avoiding taxes -7/22/2014, 8:10 AM

Take the win in Iran -7/21/2014, 8:57 AM

The high court's high-handedness -7/21/2014, 8:57 AM

Up in arms in the Capitol -7/20/2014, 4:52 PM

Firefighters weigh in on pay raise -7/20/2014, 4:52 PM

Backpacks for Kids -7/20/2014, 4:52 PM

Our unwillingness to defend ourselves -7/18/2014, 10:51 AM

Remembering a man who championed freedom -7/18/2014, 10:51 AM

GOP split -7/17/2014, 8:38 AM

New Kansas senator -7/17/2014, 8:37 AM

Who'll build the roads? -7/17/2014, 8:37 AM

Time to retire -7/16/2014, 2:20 PM

Reagan: In or out? -7/16/2014, 2:45 PM

'Unbroken' WWII vet more than a hero -7/16/2014, 2:44 PM

Savor the fruits of your labor -7/16/2014, 2:44 PM

Erasing candidate's standards -7/15/2014, 11:36 AM

Returning to Trail Wood -7/15/2014, 10:13 AM

Leaving some in 'suspense' -7/15/2014, 10:13 AM

Strangers in a remarkable land -7/14/2014, 9:11 AM

Courageous or spineless? Our actions decide -7/14/2014, 9:11 AM

Ambition: An unlikely gift to Kansas voters -7/13/2014, 11:16 AM

Beyond the outrage -7/13/2014, 11:16 AM

Water watch -7/13/2014, 11:16 AM

Scenic outlooks -7/11/2014, 9:18 AM

China's research trumps teaching -7/11/2014, 9:17 AM

Important slow news -7/10/2014, 9:42 AM

We've got a promise to keep -7/10/2014, 9:33 AM

The white combine calls -7/9/2014, 10:02 AM

Vote for family values -7/9/2014, 10:02 AM

Politicians making a mockery of my faith -7/9/2014, 10:02 AM

Missing tribute -7/9/2014, 10:02 AM

Rural students deserve 21st Century education -7/8/2014, 9:10 AM

The education table dance -7/8/2014, 9:10 AM

A new virus -7/8/2014, 9:10 AM

Government as God -7/7/2014, 9:38 AM

EPA affecting others -7/7/2014, 9:38 AM

'Narrow' decision from the narrow-minded -7/7/2014, 9:38 AM

The tax trap -7/6/2014, 4:35 PM

Rulings produce 'First Amendment fireworks' -7/6/2014, 4:35 PM

Firefighter salaries -7/6/2014, 4:35 PM

Economic freedom -7/4/2014, 11:54 AM

Protecting our independence -7/4/2014, 11:54 AM

Dan Johnson, 1936-2014 -7/3/2014, 7:12 AM

New Iraq offensive backfires -7/3/2014, 7:11 AM

Setting things straight -7/3/2014, 7:11 AM

'Crapitalism' -7/3/2014, 7:11 AM

Feeding peace throughout the world -7/2/2014, 9:01 AM

Half way is still only half way -7/2/2014, 9:01 AM

Sherow a better choice -7/2/2014, 9:01 AM

Fireworks, part II -7/2/2014, 9:01 AM

Reality show made in Topeka -7/1/2014, 8:53 AM

The justices and their cellphones -7/1/2014, 8:53 AM

LOB defeated -7/1/2014, 8:53 AM

Tragedy explored in 'Broken Heart Land' -6/30/2014, 9:14 AM

Mexico City: The adventure continues -6/30/2014, 9:14 AM

Even our youngest Americans are citizens -6/29/2014, 12:58 PM

Ban on fireworks -6/29/2014, 12:58 PM

It's time to teach active citizenship -6/29/2014, 12:57 PM

The education establishment's success -6/27/2014, 10:39 AM

Piecework professors -6/27/2014, 10:39 AM

Marriage for all -6/27/2014, 10:39 AM

Prairie chicken madness -6/26/2014, 4:17 PM

Omission control -6/26/2014, 10:12 AM

Equal in the eyes of the law -6/26/2014, 10:12 AM

Help wanted -6/26/2014, 10:12 AM

The old red barn -6/25/2014, 9:19 AM

Beware the unimaginable -6/25/2014, 9:19 AM

Early critic of school testing was right -6/24/2014, 8:53 AM

Finding something 'different' in Topeka -6/24/2014, 8:53 AM

Shopping small -6/24/2014, 8:53 AM

Into the classroom -6/23/2014, 8:55 AM

Wow! And thanks to you -6/23/2014, 8:55 AM

Fireworks double-standard -6/23/2014, 8:55 AM

Glass half full -6/22/2014, 5:57 PM

myTown Calendar

SPOTLIGHT
[var top_story_head]

Gen. Patton and the chief justice

Published on -12/16/2012, 11:30 AM

Printer-friendly version
E-Mail This Story

As a former Marine Corps combat engineer, I appreciate Army Gen. George S. Patton Jr. Just before his troops stormed Normandy beaches to help liberate Europe, he gave them a rousing speech.

The general reminded them they had all "admired the champion marble player, the fastest runner ... and the All-American football players." General Patton's inspirational point?

"Americans love a winner."

What Patton said about Americans in 1944 is still true about Kansans in 2012. We love winners. Winners are produced by competition. And rugged competition has produced all of our state's appellate jurists -- Court of Appeals judges and Supreme Court justices -- since 1958.

I know this, because I started competing to become one in 1995. I completed my lengthy application, attached samples of my legal writings and listed judges and fellow lawyers familiar with my work. I also submitted to an investigation and an interview by the nine Kansans on the state nominating commission. My 29 competitors did the same.

After this thorough screening process, the commission selected three people from whom the governor would choose Kansas' next Court of Appeals judge. My qualifications were not good enough; I was not selected by the commission.

Another opportunity arose a few months later. This time, I competed against 27 other applicants, and my result was the same as before.

Because I was determined to earn a position as an appellate jurist, I tried to improve my competitiveness. To hone my writing and analytical skills, I researched and wrote several legal articles for publication -- and volunteered to author appellate briefs for other lawyers. To sharpen my understanding of the law's application to the real world, I sought more cases to try to Kansas juries. To achieve a broader perspective of the law, I expanded my law practice to include additional legal fields.

In my third competition, in 2000, I was selected from 22 applicants as one of the three people submitted to the governor. But he chose one of my two remaining competitors. So I worked harder to improve my legal abilities and understanding of the law before the next vacancy.

In 2002, I competed against 17 other applicants wanting to become a justice on the Supreme Court. My name was again one of three sent to the governor. And this time, I was chosen -- by the same governor who had chosen someone else two years earlier. In my view, I was finally successful because I had steadily improved my qualifications during the previous seven years.

But now, new ways of choosing Kansas appellate jurists are being proposed to replace our 50-year-old competitive system of merit selection.

When comparing systems, several fundamental features of our present system must be considered. First is the democratic feature. Our system grants the equal opportunity -- to be chosen an appellate jurist -- to each Kansas lawyer and trial judge with at least 10 years' experience. Nearly 11,000 individual notices are mailed for every vacancy. And to have a chance of achieving such an important position, the person only needs to apply.

Second, and more important to all Kansans, is the quality feature. As demonstrated by my experience, equal opportunity to all means that more than one person will apply. And that obviously means competition -- one where politics and its money fortunately play no role.

But without such a competition that compares side-by-side the qualification of numerous applicants, no new system can truly claim it produces the best appellate jurists for Kansas.

Even Gen. Patton's "champion marble player" had to compete against all comers on a level field to earn the title. As a fourth-generation Kansan, I say we should require no less for our state's appellate jurists. That is why I support our merit selection system.

Lawton R. Nuss is a Salina native. He has served on the Kansas Supreme Court since 2002 and as chief justice since 2010.

digg delicious facebook stumbleupon google Newsvine
More News and Photos

Associated Press Videos

AP Breaking News
AP Nation-World News

View this site in another language.

Kansas News