Analysis: Kansas to compare court selection ways

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by JOHN HANNA, AP Political Writer

— Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s allies and critics have waged an intense debate over changes in picking state Court of Appeals judges.

Appeals Court

Appeals Court

But Kansans should soon have a real-world contrast between the new system and the one it replaced.

The state Senate last week confirmed Brownback’s chief counsel, Caleb Stegall, to a Court of Appeals seat under a law taking effect in July. He appoints the judges, subject to Senate confirmation.

But the Kansas Supreme Court still falls under the old system. It has an attorney-led nominating commission screen applicants for vacancies and name three finalists, with no role for legislators after the governor’s appointment.

And a state Supreme Court vacancy is likely next year because Justice Nancy Moritz has been nominated to a federal appeals court.