Keep system for selecting justices
In Arkansas, where appellate court justice candidates run for office by popular election, a recent case shows how campaign fundraising may affect citizens’ cases.
After a unanimous jury verdict, presiding county Circuit Court Judge Mike Maggio reduced a family’s jury award by 80 percent. This judge admitted to being “improperly influenced” by $24,000 in contributions to the judge’s appellate court election campaign and was convicted of bribery.
In Kansas, those seeking appointment to open Kansas Supreme Court positions submit applications and are interviewed by a committee. The names of three applicants the selection committee deems qualified are submitted to the governor, who chooses which applicant to appoint to the court.
Do we really want Kansas judges tempted by campaign fund dollars affecting cases, or do we want the present selection process to continue providing state Supreme Court justices free from the taint of who gave campaign contributions and who did not?
Our current governor changed how we select Kansas Court of Appeals judges and now wants to change how we select Supreme Court justices, but our present selection system seems a much better option promoting judicial independence and fairness.
MICHAEL L. SNIDER
War on schools
I guess I missed the formal declaration by the Legislature of war on teachers and public education. They (the Legislature and Gov. Sam Brownback) have eliminated job security and not shouldered their responsibility of adequately funding public education. Now they want to change the retirement system and write a new school-finance plan.
The funds in the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System belong to the members, and the only abuse of the program is by members of the Legislature. The present school-finance plan is based on the concept that the quality of education should not depend on a student’s ZIP code. The finance formula is complicated but it is fair, as it balances the funding between the wealthy and poorer school districts. If it is thrown back to the local school boards, which have varying resources, a great many students will be denied the quality of education available to others.
I hope the citizens of Kansas will not allow some misguided politicians and their wealthy backers (many who send their children to private schools) to continue their attack on public schools and the dedicated educators who serve all students.
Chiefs beat both
Just mail the Super Bowl trophy to Arrowhead Stadium. The Kansas City Chiefs beat both squads of those wannabe players this season.
FRANK LA FORGE
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