Kansas Gov. Sam Brownbacks decision to appoint Caleb Stegall to the state Court of Appeals caused liberal hearts to flutter last week.
By Dave Helling
The Kansas City Star
No one appears worried about Stegalls qualifications for the appeals bench, which are many. Instead, the lawyer is gasp a conservative, just like Brownback.
This is a glaring example of Washington-style cronyism alive and well in Topeka, harrumphed Kansas Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley.
Some Democrats want Brownback to release the names of other potential appeals court nominees, presumably because they believe the other picks would be less conservative than Stegall.
Why would they think that? Isnt it more likely that every name on Brownbacks list would come from the political right?
Heres an important concept: Elections have consequences. In 2010 and again in 2012, Kansans elected conservative lawmakers and a conservative governor. Its reasonable to assume they expected, and support, a conservative judiciary, too.
If Kansas Democrats are really worried about the appointment of conservative judges, their remedy is to get more votes. Instead, theyre trying to subvert Brownbacks choice by relying on process, not politics.
This is a common approach, and not limited to Democrats.
Republicans in Washington are now arguing over a plan to defund the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare. Some fringe Republicans are muttering about impeachment, too.
Less than a year ago, of course, voters had a chance to accomplish both objectives by electing Mitt Romney. Instead, they re-elected Barack Obama, by a comfortable margin.
Perhaps the GOP would be better advised to focus its energies on actually electing a Republican president in 2016 instead of pursuing efforts to circumvent the voters decision last November.
None of this means elected representatives should abandon their views to the executive branch, or ditch their responsibilities for addressing issues of community concern.
Neither Sam Brownback nor Barack Obama is a king.
But surely one reason for our dysfunctional government is some lawmakers belief that the electorate doesnt really know what its doing one reason you hear a lot of claptrap about low-information voters.
Winning elections is hard work. Candidates and parties must identify supporters, get them registered, raise money, sharpen the message, get voters to the polls.
Then the people decide. Then theres another election, and they get to decide again.