If one Kansas senator had his way, Supreme Court Justices Lee Johnson and Eric Rosen would not have survived their retention elections last fall.
Sen. Dennis Pyle, a Hiwatha Republican, introduced a bill Thursday that calls for judges to get two-thirds support from voters to keep their seat on the bench. A detailed bill was not available Thursday night.
“I am trying to empower the voters of Kansas,” Pyle said. “If (judges) are doing their job, why wouldn’t they get two-thirds of the vote from the people of Kansas?”
Generally, judges standing for retention grab about 70 percent of the vote. However, this year there was a concerted campaign to remove Rosen and Johnson from the bench for overturning the death penalty of two brothers convicted of a quadruple murder in Wichita. They finished with 53 percent.
Pyle’s bill comes at a time when lawmakers are looking to revamp the way Supreme Court justices are picked. Gov. Sam Brownback wants control of Supreme Court appointments with consent of the state Senate.
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