Truth Caucus Calls for Constitutional Amendment for Supreme Court Nominees;
Says Jack Debacle Demonstrates Failure of So-Called Merit System
The Kansas Truth Caucus is calling for a Constitutional Amendment reforming the process for selecting Kansas Supreme Court justices in the wake of the nomination and subsequent withdrawal of Jeffry Jack for the Kansas Court of Appeals. Governor Kelly withdrew Jack’s name from consideration after the Truth Caucus and Republican leaders announced opposition to his nomination following the revelation Jack had a history of inflammatory and sharply partisan social media posts.
A Constitutional Amendment was introduced this morning in the Senate Federal & State Affairs Committee by Senator Ty Masterson, who is Chair of the Kansas Truth Caucus. The proposal is based on the “federal model” for judicial selection and mirrors the system for the Kansas Court of Appeals, which permits governors to select a nominee of their choice, but who is subject to Senate confirmation.
The Kansas Truth Caucus believes the “check and balance” of Senate confirmation for the Kansas Court of Appeals clearly worked in the case of Jack, who would be on the court if not for reform the legislature enacted in 2013, and believes the reform needs to be implemented for the Kansas Supreme Court, as well.
“The Jeffry Jack nomination debacle demonstrates both why the so-called ‘merit system’ is flawed and why the federal model works. Governor Kelly created a de-facto nominating commission that supposedly reviewed and vetted 17 candidates, and produced Jack. If not for the check of Senate confirmation, Jack would be on the Kansas Court of Appeals right now,” said Masterson, who further expressed appreciation to Governor Kelly for withdrawing the Jack nomination and recognizing that Jack's acerbic statements on social media were inappropriate for a sitting judge.
“The fact Judge Jack made it through the entire vetting process demonstrates the failure of the system that the governor used, which is alarmingly still in place for the Kansas Supreme Court. Thankfully, the confirmation requirement saved Kansans from further embarrassment. We must implement this same basic check for the highest court in our state,” said Rep. Jene Vickrey, Vice Chair of the Kansas Truth Caucus.