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Proposals Advance To Change How Kansas Picks Highest Court

J. Stephen Conn
flickr Creative Commons

A Kansas House committee approved rival proposals for changing how state Supreme Court justices are selected.

Justices would be elected under one proposal clearing the Judiciary Committee. Under the other plan, the governor would appoint the justices directly, subject to Senate confirmation.

Currently, a lawyer-led commission screens applicants for Supreme Court vacancies and names three finalists. The governor must pick one, with no role for lawmakers.

Representative Mark Kahrs of Wichita says the decisions of the Judiciary Committee represent progress in reforming judicial selection.

But Wichita Representative John Carmichael said there's no reason to change the selection process.

The House committee approved the two rival proposals Monday on 13-9 votes. Debates by the full House have not been scheduled.