Power Struggle Heart of Debate Over Kansas Courts

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – A legislative dispute over how Kansas Supreme Court justices are selected is a political struggle centering on Republican Gov. Sam Brownback.

The issue is whether Brownback and his supporters can make their conservative fiscal and social policies stick well into the future.

Brownback and his allies contend their goal in seeking change is to make the judicial selection process more democratic. His critics say they’re fighting to preserve the court system’s independence.

But comments from both sides showed what really was at issue as the House rejected a proposal to give the governor and legislators more control over Supreme Court appointments.

Brownback’s allies believe a court that’s more in touch with voters will be more conservative in its rulings. His opponents celebrated the vote as checking Brownback’s ambitions.