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Brownback's Office Rejects Request To Disclose Court Of Appeals Applicants

Gov. Sam Brownback's office has rejected a request to publicly disclose the names of applicants for a new seat on the state Court of Appeals.

The League of Women Voters of Kansas filed a request for the applicant names under the Kansas Open Records Act. League President, former Democratic state Rep. Dolores Furtado, says the process for picking judges legislators approved this year is "definitely less open" than the previous method.

The law took effect July 1. Previously, a statewide judicial nominating commission led by attorneys screened applicants for the Court of Appeals and named three finalists. The governor appointed one, with no role for legislators.

Under the new process, the governor will make appointments to the Court of Appeals, subject to Senate confirmation, with no role for the nominating commission.

Gov. Brownback's spokeswoman, Eileen Hawley, says the process will be transparent and accountable because the Senate's discussions of court nominees will be open to the public. Hawley noted that a similar process has been followed for picking federal judges since the U.S. Constitution's ratification.

Brownback plans to take applications for the Court of Appeals position until July 31. He has until August 29 to name the new judge. The Senate will have 20 days once the Legislature convenes in January to consider the appointment.