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Rulings in Kansas cases revive conservatives’ push on courts

Associated Press - January 23, 2016 1:55 pm

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has signed into law a measure that creates an independent task force to review the state's child welfare system.

Republican Gov. Sam Brownback and his allies are trying to revive their push to remake Kansas’ courts by stoking public outrage after recent abortion and death penalty rulings.

Brownback has repeatedly advocated overhauling how Kansas Supreme Court justices are selected, potentially giving governors and legislators have more control. He and other prominent conservative Republicans renewed their calls for change over the past week.

The current system relies on a lawyer-led commission to screen Supreme Court applicants. The governor must appoint one of its three finalists. Lawmakers have no role.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Jeff King said rulings voters dislike can get their attention and focus them on possible changes. The Independence Republican favors overhauling the selection system.

Kansas Bar Association Executive Director Jordan Yochim called the push politically motivated.