Hutch News: Hutch News: Vote ‘yes’ to retain Kansas Supreme Court justices
Here’s what you need to know about the effort to unseat Kansas Supreme Court justices up for retention on the Nov. 8 ballot: The Carr brothers will never, ever see the light of day again.
The justices are not activists. That’s a term for a judge who doesn’t roll your way all the time.
If the justices are unseated, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback will have undue influence replacing them. The judicial system should be apolitical and should not fall victim to the whims of current popular thought.
The code of conduct prevents the justices from defending themselves publicly, even while other groups attack them. And in the world of law, things are more complex than could ever be presented in a 30-second television commercial.
Airwaves and mailboxes have been filled with emotional pleas and aggressive condemnation in an effort to unseat four of the five current justices up for retention on the Kansas Supreme Court. And those spots – by design – fill us all with sympathy and pain at the memory of the horrible torture, rape and murder committed by Jonathan and Reginald Carr in Wichita in 2000. We’d be inhumane not to feel a sense of shared grief with the families whose lives forever changed on that night.
But, that case is not what this retention election is about. The governor and his supporters are driving the effort to unseat the justices because they are not content with the power they already hold. They want to ensure that the laws and budgets they pass never face scrutiny and never come under review by an independent branch of government.
That’s why Kansans for Life threatened lawmakers earlier this year, attempting to connect the judicial selection process to the issue of abortion. It’s why activist groups are possibly violating federal campaign laws by passing out materials in churches encouraging voters to reject the justices. It’s why for the first time in recent memory outside groups are spending an obscene amount of money attempting to change the makeup of the Kansas Supreme Court.
The effort to change the Kansas Supreme Court has nothing to do with justice and everything to do with everything that’s wrong with politics. Bluntly put, it’s an effort by Brownback and his supporters to consolidate the three branches of state government into a monarchy in which the governor reigns supreme and in which he and his policies are never questioned or challenged.
Voters should see this effort for what it is and vote to retain all the justices on the Kansas Supreme Court so that Kansas government can continue to function with an independent judiciary that weighs the law and facts above political pressure or an allegiance to the governor.