November 26, 2007
Kansas is the only state in the union that gives the members of its bar majority control over the selection of state supreme court justices. The bar consequently may have more control over the judiciary in Kansas than in any other state. This process for selecting justices to the Kansas Supreme Court is described by the organized bar as a “merit,” rather than political, process. Other observers, however, emphasize that the process has a political side as well. This paper surveys debate about possible reforms to the Kansas Supreme Court selection process. These reforms would reduce the amount of control exercised by the bar and establish a more public system of checks and balances.