DA: Kansas judicial panel did not violate open meetings law

By

State News

November 8, 2019 - 3:16 PM

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A commission that screens applicants for the Kansas Supreme Court didn’t violate the state’s open meetings law in naming three finalists for Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly to consider in filling a vacancy, a prosecutor said Thursday.

Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett rejected a complaint from Kansas Senate President Susan Wagle. She objected to the nominating commission’s use of paper ballots during a mid-October meeting to winnow the field of candidates from 19 to three before taking a vote by a unanimous show of hands to approve its final list.

Wagle and other conservative Republicans argue that the selection process is not transparent enough. They’re expected to push next year to give legislators the power to block a governor’s appointments to the state’s highest court, something they cannot do now. GOP interest in such a measure intensified after the Supreme Court issued an April ruling protecting abortion rights.

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