Legislators Open Hearing on Judicial Changes

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) Several law professors say they would favor a different system for appointing judges to the Kansas Court of Appeals and the state Supreme Court.

The Senate Judiciary Committee heard testimony Wednesday on a proposed change in the Kansas Constitution to let the governor appoint appellate judges, with confirmation by the Senate. Voters would have to approve the constitutional change.

Under the current system, the governor chooses appellate judges from slates of three finalists nominated by a special commission. The commission is made up of four non-lawyers appointed by the governor and five lawyers who belong to the Kansas Bar Association.

University of Kansas law professor Stephen Ware says the current process shuts voters out from decisions on appointments to the state’s highest courts.