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KBA President Dennis Depew clarifies merit selection statements in AP story

Friday, September 6, 2013   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Beth Warrington
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Within the past 24 hours an Associated Press story appeared regarding the likelihood of the selection method for the Kansas Supreme Court being taken up by the 2014 Kansas Legislature. I was asked for comment on behalf of the KBA.


My quoted comments were:


"It is not a good situation to have one system for the Court of Appeals and a separate system for the Supreme Court. The issue is going to return in the 2014 legislative session.”


Some people who read my remarks, including members of various legal associations, interested in this important issue have interpreted these remarks to imply that I and/or the KBA want the selection process for the Kansas Supreme Court to mirror the new Kansas Court of Appeals selection process. This interpretation could not be farther from the truth. My personal position and the position of the KBA is and has been that there should be one selection process for both appellate courts and that process should be one of Merit Selection.


Over the past two and a half years, others and myself have literally spent hundreds of hours working with legislative leaders and the governor’s office in an effort to determine if there was a way to retain Merit Selection while addressing the complaints of its detractors. The KBA Board of Governors has spent hours in discussions over a number of proposals during this time. No agreement was able to be reached, and the process for selection of the Kansas Court of Appeals was changed in the 2013 Kansas Legislature over my and the KBA’s objections.


The KBA and all of its officers are committed to retaining Merit Selection for the Kansas Supreme Court and will advocate for returning to Merit Selection for the Kansas Court of Appeals.


Dennis Depew

President, Kansas Bar Association


Phone: (620) 325-2626