Judicial elections, democratic appointment (e.g., senate confirmation), and the Missouri Plan (a/k/a "merit selection")

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Monday, October 27, 2014

Retention Elections for Kansas Supreme Court

The Kansas Republican Party's chairman and GOP Gov. Sam Brownback last week endorsed efforts by group of crime victims, Kansans for Justice, to get voters to remove two of the court's seven justices in the Nov. 4 election, AP reports.  The two, Justices Lee Johnson and Eric Rosen, were appointed by former Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius.

As in other states, judges almost never lose retention elections in Kansas, the story continues: "Previously, elections haven't been much of a threat to justices' careers. Since the state stopped electing them to the bench in 1960, voters haven't removed any justice. None has received a "yes" vote of less than 62 percent. But the lowest margins were recorded in 2010, when the anti-abortion group Kansans for Life waged a "fire Beier" campaign against Justice Carol Beier."

Retention elections, with no opposing candidate, are designed to be easy for incumbents to win, as I explain more toward the end of this law review article

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