More Trouble with “Merit” Selection in Kansas
March 9, 2012
Along with retention elections, one of the main ruses the “merit” selection crowd employs to give the illusion that the public is still involved in judicial selection is the judicial performance review.
In Kansas, for example, a commission on judicial performance evaluates state judges and makes these evaluations available to the public to help them make “informed” decisions about whether to retain a judges in retention elections. Not surprisingly, the legal elites who make up the judicial performance commission overwhelmingly approve of the judges chosen by other legal elites who sit on judicial nominating commissions. In fact, since the system has been in place, the judicial performance commission has recommended the public retain every judge.
Many in the Kansas state legislature are tired of the charade. Earlier this week, a bill was advanced in the House to abolish the commissions and return the $785,000 in court filing fees that support it to the general treasury. While the legislation is unlikely to gain much traction in the Senate, it does represent yet another crack in the “merit” selection foundation.