www.mozilla.com Weather Central
Voices
Headlines

Embarrassing economists -10/24/2014, 9:13 AM

Sherow for House -10/24/2014, 9:13 AM

It can't get crazier (wanna bet?) -10/24/2014, 9:04 AM

Digital distractions -10/23/2014, 10:01 AM

Orman for Senate -10/23/2014, 10:01 AM

Federal persecutors -10/23/2014, 10:00 AM

Kids do count -10/22/2014, 10:31 AM

Needing the past in the future? -10/22/2014, 10:31 AM

In praise of hunting -10/22/2014, 10:30 AM

What is a CID? Will it work for mall? -10/21/2014, 10:22 AM

Judging importance on the ballot -10/21/2014, 10:22 AM

Kansas Speaks -10/21/2014, 10:22 AM

Paying for schools -10/19/2014, 1:21 PM

Joining forces for Orman -10/19/2014, 1:21 PM

Research before voting -10/19/2014, 1:21 PM

Davis is moderate? -10/19/2014, 1:21 PM

The most important election in your lifetime -10/19/2014, 1:21 PM

Huelskamp stands out -10/19/2014, 1:21 PM

Kansas farm interests -10/19/2014, 1:21 PM

Keeping unfounded reports from 'going viral' -10/19/2014, 1:21 PM

The age of cynicism -10/18/2014, 9:02 AM

Preventable diseases -10/17/2014, 10:28 AM

Second term needed -10/17/2014, 10:28 AM

Kansans deserve better -10/17/2014, 10:28 AM

Officially killing Americans -10/17/2014, 10:27 AM

New era at FHSU -10/16/2014, 10:01 AM

Roberts is right choice -10/16/2014, 10:01 AM

Crumbling Constitution -10/16/2014, 9:52 AM

Redbelly's future -10/16/2014, 9:52 AM

Kansas deserves better -10/15/2014, 10:23 AM

Remember to vote on Nov. 4 -10/15/2014, 10:23 AM

You almost feel sorry for Sean Groubert -10/15/2014, 10:23 AM

Register to vote -10/14/2014, 10:14 AM

Living on that 70 percent -10/14/2014, 10:14 AM

New bullying problem for schools: parents -10/14/2014, 10:14 AM

Cheerios, marriage equality, the Supreme Court -10/13/2014, 9:49 AM

Wedded bliss -10/12/2014, 5:54 PM

Who is the real fraud? -10/12/2014, 5:08 PM

Teenagers 'make some noise' -10/12/2014, 5:08 PM

Not so private property -10/10/2014, 10:01 AM

Federal funding -10/10/2014, 10:01 AM

Teacher indoctrination -10/10/2014, 10:01 AM

Vote Republican -10/9/2014, 9:49 AM

Non-partisan politics -10/9/2014, 9:49 AM

Teen driver safety week Oct. 19 to 25 -10/9/2014, 9:04 AM

FHSU party -10/9/2014, 10:11 AM

Poverty in America -10/9/2014, 10:11 AM

Let the women serve -10/9/2014, 10:11 AM

Time for new direction -10/8/2014, 9:49 AM

Improving Kansas economically -10/8/2014, 9:35 AM

Water abusers -10/8/2014, 9:35 AM

Play safe on the farm -10/8/2014, 9:34 AM

Where the money comes from -10/7/2014, 10:24 AM

The president's security -10/7/2014, 10:24 AM

Marriage equality -10/7/2014, 10:24 AM

The sins of the father are visited -10/6/2014, 9:02 AM

Cannabis in America: The bottom line -10/6/2014, 9:20 AM

A reason to celebrate -10/6/2014, 9:20 AM

Gov. shields wealthy from paying for schools -10/5/2014, 2:07 PM

Passionate protest in defense of civil disorder -10/5/2014, 2:07 PM

October is time for baseball and, of course, film premieres -10/4/2014, 2:16 PM

Alley cleanup -10/3/2014, 10:01 AM

Will the West defend itself? -10/3/2014, 10:01 AM

Find another school -10/3/2014, 10:01 AM

It's better now -10/2/2014, 9:17 AM

The answer is to bomb Mexico? -10/2/2014, 9:17 AM

Falling revenue -10/2/2014, 9:17 AM

School facilities -10/1/2014, 9:27 AM

Look ahead, not back -10/1/2014, 9:27 AM

Secret Service needs to step up its game -10/1/2014, 9:27 AM

Roosevelts were true leaders -9/30/2014, 9:18 AM

Moral bankruptcy -9/30/2014, 9:18 AM

Expect some sort of change in Topeka -9/30/2014, 9:18 AM

'A tale of two countries' -9/29/2014, 9:59 AM

The last of the Willie Horton ads? -9/29/2014, 9:59 AM

Finding answers to the future of Kansas -9/28/2014, 2:20 PM

College: Where religious freedom goes to die -9/28/2014, 2:20 PM

Honoring Hammond -9/28/2014, 2:20 PM

Do statistical disparities mean injustice? -9/26/2014, 9:53 AM

World university rankings -9/26/2014, 9:52 AM

Kansas experiment -9/26/2014, 9:52 AM

Two anti-choice parties -9/25/2014, 10:03 AM

Not in the same old Kansas anymore -9/25/2014, 10:03 AM

Domestic violence -9/25/2014, 10:03 AM

Back to war we go -9/24/2014, 9:55 AM

Piling on the NFL -9/24/2014, 9:54 AM

Emma Watson looking for a few good men -9/24/2014, 9:54 AM

Renter runaround -9/23/2014, 7:32 PM

Enough is enough -9/23/2014, 9:02 AM

Life of politics in the state -9/23/2014, 9:02 AM

What is and is not child abuse -9/22/2014, 9:30 AM

Cannabis politics and research -9/22/2014, 9:30 AM

Future of The Mall -9/21/2014, 6:14 PM

Multiculturalism is a failure -9/19/2014, 9:52 AM

State education rankings -9/19/2014, 9:52 AM

Kobach gone wild -9/19/2014, 9:52 AM

Bias prevents civil discussion of education issues -9/18/2014, 9:35 AM

Immigration is American -9/18/2014, 9:35 AM

Costs to states not expanding Medicaid -9/17/2014, 10:14 AM

Medicare threats -9/17/2014, 10:12 AM

myTown Calendar

SPOTLIGHT
[var top_story_head]

The royal governor

Published on -7/16/2013, 10:39 AM

Printer-friendly version
E-Mail This Story

Despite countless pleas to do otherwise, Gov. Sam Brownback simply won't reveal the names of any applicants vying for the vacancy on the Kansas Court of Appeals. He claims confidentiality is the only way to amass a strong pool of candidates.

"It is clear that disclosing the names of potential nominees would hurt applicant pools for future selections and this is why the American Bar Association recommends this method of selection and why the federal judicial selection process follows this same path," the governor offered in a press release.

While this assertion might have shut down the debate, it didn't stifle the criticism coming from all corners of the state. Which led Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Jeff King, a conservative Republican from Independence, to say: "This is more of a concern about the person making the appointments than the selection process."

In all deference to King, we have issues with both.

First of all, Gov. Brownback has not inspired confidence with some of his appointments to date. Compliance with philosophy appears to be a stronger qualification than expertise or experience.

It isn't difficult to recall that earlier this year, Brownback's budget director owned up to a $2 billion mistake. Steve Anderson, the primary budget analyst who also monitors the state's cash flow, couldn't spot mathematical inaccuracies on a spreadsheet that Brownback used for months to tout his administration's success. It wasn't until the Wichita Eagle challenged the governor's claim that Brownback stopped boasting he was the first governor to decrease spending in 40 years. Anderson remains gainfully employed.

It's only been 18 months since Rob Siedlecki left his appointed post as secretary of Social and Rehabilitative Services. Siedlecki didn't even work there an entire year, yet had time to toss out hundreds of mid-level managers, create a number of new top executives, close offices in multiple cities, initiate faith-based programs, assert that poor Kansans would rather receive assistance than work, and effectively dismantle the entire SRS.

There also was Jim Mann, whose tenure as the state's chief information technology officer didn't last a day. Hired at $150,000, Mann had the governor's support but no answer for his fraudulent education background on his resume.

Brownback also assembled an entire School Efficiency Task Force utilizing only one person with either teaching or school administrative experience.

As for the appellate court selection process, it also is flawed. While many states did adopt the federal model of having the executive appoint judges, most began adopting different methods -- in the early 1800s. And the American Bar Association does not recommend executive appointment. Rather, the ABA favors merit selection -- and has since 1937. In its own literature, the ABA states: "While any method of judicial selection may have flaws, it is the belief of the ABA, the American Judicature Society, and many legal experts and scholars across the nation that some form of merit selection should be used in every state."

Kansans will never know how qualified the pool of applicants will be for the Court of Appeals. Citizens only will discover the one person Brownback selected. The appointee will be confirmed by the Kansas Senate, which has been winnowed to a solid conservative majority after the governor helped defeat moderates from his own party.

In short, we would expect the new appellate judge to share the governor's perspectives on school finance, taxation, abortion, gay marriage, intelligent design, drug testing government assistance recipients, fetal stem cell research, state rights and euthanasia.

It's just another step for Brownback to assume complete control of the state. Legislators either will amend the constitution to allow the same selection process for the Kansas Supreme Court, or they'll simply remove the high court's authority to hear appeals. Lawmakers also plan to abolish both the Board of Regents and the State Board of Education, replacing them with a secretary of education who will be appointed by the governor.

Checks and balances? It appears Kansans don't care.

Editorial by Patrick Lowry

plowry@dailynews.net

digg delicious facebook stumbleupon google Newsvine
More News and Photos

Associated Press Videos

AP Breaking News