News Columns & Blogs

Fall hearing doesn't avoid confirmation wait

It's all well and good that Kansas Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Jeff King, R-Independence, wants to hold a hearing in October or November for Gov. Sam Brownback's to-be-announced nominee to the new 14th seat on the Kansas Court of Appeals. But the judge still can't be sworn in until after the Kansas Senate convenes in January and holds the newly necessary confirmation vote on the position. That's more than six months after the position became available. Under the system the Legislature just threw out after three decades, with the statewide nominating commission vetting Court of Appeals applicants and submitting three nominees to the governor, the selection process had a statutory limit of 120 days. For example, when a member of the Court of Appeals died in April 2010, his successor was sworn in that September. Under the new system, the same scenario would leave the seat unfilled for nine months.