Today's Wichita Eagle publishes the editorial, "Court has serious job."
The Kansas Supreme Court’s decision overturning the death sentences for Reginald and Jonathan Carr was a tough reminder that the justices’ job is not to be popular but to hold lower courts accountable – a responsibility at its most serious when the issue before the high court is whether the state should end somebody’s life.
The Carrs were convicted and sentenced to death for a two-man crime spree of robbery, home invasion, beatings, kidnappings, sexual assault and execution-style killings in December 2000 that left five dead and Wichita traumatized.
Twenty years after Kansas reinstated the death penalty, it’s not surprising that many are weary of the glacial pace of appeals and impatient to see executions begin. But lawmakers should allow for the possibility that the problem isn’t the Supreme Court but the costly law itself.
"High court's Carr decision may prompt push to change way justices are appointed" is the AP report filed by John Hanna, via the Topeka Capital-Journal.
The Kansas Supreme Court’s decision to overturn two brothers’ death sentences for a notorious robbery, rape and killing rampage likely will fuel another push by conservative Republicans to give the governor and legislators more say in how the justices are chosen.
Senate Majority Leader Terry Bruce said the judicial selection process will “absolutely” be an issue when legislators reconvene in January because of the court’s rulings last week in the cases Jonathan and Reginald Carr. The Nickerson Republican said the rulings weren’t surprising — the court hasn’t upheld a death sentence in two decades — and many members of the GOP-dominated Legislature believe the justices have shown an “activist” streak.
Supporters of the current nominating process argue that it eliminates partisan politics so the selection process can focus on applicants’ skills and work history.
“There will always be cries for the heads of judges when they make difficult and unpopular rulings,” said Rep. John Carmichael, a Wichita Democrat and attorney. “It’s an imperative that we have independent courts.”
Earlier coverage of the Kansas Supreme Court ruling begins at the link.