Tuesday, August 31, 2010
The first thing Governor Switchback needs to change
If I understand Kansas's process correctly, the bar association elects 5 members to a committee and the governor appoints 4. That committee submits a list of names (I think 3) to the governor, and he appoints one of those three named to the court. Which means that even with a conservative governor, house, and senate, if liberals controlled the bar association*, they could continue to put hand-picked liberals on the Supreme Court. Even over the wishes of every elected official and even every voter in the state.
Perhaps it is ironic that the above chart calls Kansas' arrangement "elitist." The history of such an arrangement goes back to the Kansas Populist - in the historical sense of the word - heydays and was specifically designed to introduce "expertise" into the process, to keep "corrupt" politicians from abusing the process and putting unworthy judges on the court. After all, who could know better than other lawyers what lawyer was most qualified to sit on the Supreme Court? But it speaks to the incredible naivete' of Progressives both then and now. Yes, one can make a good argument that lawyers may know best**, but it also assumes that what is best for the lawyers is what is also best for the rest of us, or that lawyers will put the interests of the public over their own interests, or that lawyers are somehow immune to the political machinations and temptations to power that Progressives found so abhorrent in politicians***.
Not to mention that as soon as you take the selection of members of the government's most powerful branch out of the hands of politicians - in other words, when you grant "independence" from the voters - you remove the reality of self-government.
UPDATE: Governor Switchback is on the case. Well, that's a relief.
* hey, it could happen.
** I happen to think it a meaningless argument, because there is no objective qualification for the 'best' person to sit on the court.
*** The existence of the Fed shows that the same argument works for bankers as well.