Kobach Says State Judges Are Not as Competent as Federal Judges
January 23, 2015

(AP)–Secretary of State Kris Kobach says Kansas Supreme Court decisions in school funding and death penalty cases show the justices aren’t as competent as federal judges.

Kobach was among the witnesses testifying Thursday during a House Judiciary Committee hearing in favor of changing how state Supreme Court justices are chosen.

He says the state’s current system has produced what he called “mediocre results.” Kobach said he believes federal judges are better qualified for their jobs.

Defenders of the current system say it’s worked well for decades.

An attorney-led nominating commission currently screens applicants for Kansas Supreme Court vacancies and picks three finalists for each. The governor picks one of the finalists, with no role for legislators.

Kobach favors having the governor appoint justices directly, subject to Senate confirmation.

Kansas Cap on Lawsuit Damages Upheld
October 5, 2012

The Kansas Supreme Court has upheld a state law imposing a $250,000 cap on damages that can be awarded for pain and suffering in personal injury lawsuits.

The court ruled Friday against Eudora resident Amy Miller, who challenged the 1988 law imposing the cap on non-economic damages. Miller sued her doctor for removing the wrong ovary from her during surgery in 2002.

Business and medical groups had urged the court to uphold the law, saying it keeps insurance premiums affordable. Miller’s attorneys had argued that the cap violated the Kansas Constitution’s guarantees of a right to trial by jury.

The court said setting limits is a policy issue for the Legislature to settle.

A Douglas County jury awarded Miller nearly $760,000 in damages in 2006, but the award was reduced.

Brownback & Top Lawmakers Push Constitutional Amendment to Limit Courts & Schools
March 19, 2012

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback and some top lawmakers are pushing a amendment to the kansas Constitution.
It’s effect would be to restrict any agency other than the legislature from spending money.
The intent is aimed at limiting the ability of school distircts to sue the state to get more money for education.
“In this continuing cycle of school finance litigation that wastes taxpayer dollars, this constitutional amendment would make clear the current provision in the Kansas Constitution that places the power to appropriate taxpayer funds in the hands of those elected by the people and not judges,” said Kansas House Speaker Mike O’Neal.
Several times in recent years, some kansas schols distircts have taken the state to court and won, claiming the state is not adequately providing a publoic education for all of its students.
Most of the legslative leadership appears to support the bill,. That includes Sr. senator John Vratil. He is the counsel to the Blue valley School District.