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The KBA Advocate is the weekly KBA legislative newsletter that contains up-to-date information on legislation that impacts your practice. It is only published when the legislature is in session and is sent to all KBA members electronically via the KBA Weekly.

 

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Top tags: Author: Joseph N. Molina III  2019 Session  2019-20  COVID-19  legislature  budget  2020 Legislative Session  election  Kansas Supreme Court  Brownback  Supreme Court  Court of Appeals  Judicial Branch  Medicaid expansion  school finance  Special Session  abortion  Emergency Management Act  Fall Legislative Conference  Gannon  Hard 50  merit selection  Sine Die  2016 Session  2017 session  2017-18  Alleyne  First Adjournment  judicial branch budget  judicial selection 

Judicial Selection in Kansas—A Review

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Tuesday, June 23, 2020
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Kansans rely on the Kansas court system for fairness and justice under the rule of law. Because judges are the gatekeepers of the court system, it is imperative that judges exhibit certain qualifications, including:

        •  Integrity: A judge should be honest and committed to the rule of law.

        •  Professional Competence: A judge should have extensive legal knowledge.

        •  Judicial Temperament: A judge should be neutral, respectful and composed.

        •  Experience: A judge should have a strong record of excellence in the law.

        •  Commitment to Service: A judge should be committed to all aspects of the administration of justice.

 

In Kansas, openings on the Supreme Court are filled using the merit selection process. Under this process, established in the Kansas Constitution in 1958, when a vacancy is open on the Kansas Supreme Court, the nonpartisan Kansas Supreme Court Nominating Commission reviews applications, conducts public interviews and submits a list of three qualified candidates to the governor. The governor chooses one of the three to appoint to the open judicial seat. The governor has 60 days to select a candidate from those three nominees.

To be considered as a candidate for judicial office, an applicant must be a licensed attorney in Kansas over the age of 30, and must have been active as a lawyer, judge or teacher of law at an accredited law school for at least ten years.

The Supreme Court Nominating Commission has nine members—one lawyer and one non-lawyer from each of the state’s four congressional districts, plus an additional lawyer who serves as the commission’s chair. Lawyer members are elected by their peers (active Kansas attorneys), and non-lawyer members are appointed by the governor. To clarify, the Kansas Bar Association is not involved in the Supreme Court Nominating Commission. The KBA does not appoint any lawyer members to this commission. The members of the commission come from diverse backgrounds.

 

There are seven justices on the Kansas Supreme Court. The most senior justice—the justice who has served longest among the seven—is the chief justice. See; https://www.kscourts.org/About-the-Courts/Supreme-Court/Supreme-Court-Justices

Court of Appeals

The 14 judges of the Kansas Court of Appeals are, like the Supreme Court justices, appointed by the governor. However, instead of choosing from a slate of candidates recommended by a nominating commission, the governor is free to nominate anyone—as long as the nominee is a licensed attorney in Kansas between the ages of 30 and 70, and has been active as a lawyer, judge or law professor for at least ten years at an accredited law school. The governor’s nominee is then subject to confirmation by the Kansas Senate (K.S.A. 20-3020 et. seq.).

 

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Tags:  Author: Joseph N. Molina III  Court of Appeals judges  governor's appointee  governor's nominee  judicial requirements  judicial selection  merit selection  Senate Confirmation  Supreme Court Nominating Commission 

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A Hectic Ten Days

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Tuesday, September 24, 2019

The KBA will be busy the next week and a half. We will first welcome our newest attorneys to the practice of law this Friday, September 27th.  Over 80 new lawyers will be sworn-in during two separate ceremonies at the Kansas Supreme Court. Among the new admittees is former KBA staffer Jennifer Salva. See; http://kscourts.org/Kansas-Courts/General-Information/2019-News-Releases/092019.pdf

The KBA will then testify on judicial selection issues during the Special Committee on Judiciary on Oct. 1-2, 2019. The Judiciary Interim Committee will also cover Hodes Nauser, MDs. P.A. vs Schmidt (abortion case) and Hilburn v. Enerpipe Ltd. (noneconomic damages case). See; http://www.kslegislature.org/li/documents/interim_schedule.pdf; for a list of committee members: http://www.kslegislature.org/li/b2019_20/committees/ctte_spc_2019_judiciary_1/

On October 2nd the KBA will host its Trivia Night Fundraiser for Kansas Legal Services (KLS). The event will pit Washburn Law School against KU Law School in a battle of wits. The trivia contest will take place at the Historic Harley-Davidson. If you’re interested you can find more information here - https://www.ksbar.org/event/LawSchoolTrivia2019

The KBA will also attend the Wichita Bar Association’s Judges’ Day on October 3rd. WBA Judge’s Day will include a Golf Tournament, Tennis/Pickle Ball matches, a Bike Ride, an event at the Wichita Brewery and a BBQ at the Botanical Gardens. See; https://www.wichitabar.org/page/UpcomingEvents

The KBA will then meet with its Board of Governors on Friday October 4th at the WBA.

Finally, the 10-day run will end with the Investiture Ceremony for Rachel L. Pickering. Judge Pickering will be officially sworn-in at 3:00 p.m. on Friday, October 4th at the Shawnee county Courthouse.

Tags:  abortion  Author: Joseph N. Molina III  Fall new admittees  Hilburn v. Enerpipe Ltd.  judicial selection  KBA Trivia Night  non-economic damages 

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Sine Die 2019

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Tuesday, May 28, 2019

At 2:00 pm this afternoon—Tuesday, May 28th—the Kansas Senate Judiciary Committee will convene to discuss the nomination of Sarah E. Warner to the Kansas Court of Appeals. This position was vacated when Judge Patrick McAnany retired earlier this year.

This judicial confirmation hearing will be the first for Gov. Laura Kelly, although this is her second nominee for this position. As has been widely reported, Gov. Kelly’s initial nominee, Judge Jeffry Jack, failed to gain the needed support for the Kansas Senate. This after a quick ruling from the Kansas Supreme Court that the Jack nomination could not be withdrawn.

The Warner nomination will be voted on by the full Senate on Sine Die, May 29th. The Senate goes into session for Sine Die at 10:00 am.

The Senate may also attempt to vote on a constitutional amendment to alter the way judges are selected for the Kansas Supreme Court. Sen. Ty Masterson’s (R-Andover) motion to bring SCR 1620 to the Senate floor will take place tomorrow. This concurrent resolution would switch the selection method from merit selection to an appoint/confirm model. Some senators are anxious to change the merit selection method in response to the Jack nomination issues. Sen. Hensley (D-Topeka) would like to simply correct  KSA 20-3020 to include a withdrawal provision. How the Senate proceeds remains to be seen.

The issue before both chambers will be whether enough legislators return for Sine Die to vote on these issues and/or attempt to override Gov. Kelly’s tax bill veto and certain line item vetoes she made on the budget. See; https://www.kansas.com/news/politics-government/article230703224.html

Normally, Sine Die is a formality and not much real business is undertaken. However, this year has been anything but “normal,” and a lot of issues remain up in the air at this moment. This could be a busy end to the session, or it could simply peter out. 

Tags:  2019 Session  Author: Joseph N. Molina III  Jeffry Jack  judicial confirmation  judicial selection  Sarah E. Warner  SCR 1620  Sine Die  Ty Masterson 

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