State Sen. Anthony Hensley, Senate Democratic leader, today called Gov. Sam Brownback's nomination of his chief counsel for an appeals court position an example of "Washington-style cronyism."
In a statement, Sen. Hensley said:
“It comes as no surprise that Sam Brownback selected his own lawyer to serve on the Kansas Court of Appeals. This is a glaring example of Washington-style cronyism alive and well in Topeka.
“It’s now even more obvious that this has never been about transparency. Brownback strong-armed the Legislature to give him sole power over this process so he could appoint a right-wing activist judge who was rejected by the previous nominating process. Caleb Stegall is motivated by his own political agenda, and a thorough vetting of his background will prove this. “Caleb Stegall will be an activist judge, something that then-U.S. Senator Brownback expressed disdain for in a Washington Times editorial on February 9, 2005 that he co-authored. He wrote: 'This is what happens when judges ignore the law in favor of their own agenda….In their wake, the constitution lies in shambles, statutes passed by the people’s representatives are in the dumpster, the rule of law loses its vitality, and once again, the people are deprived of the right to govern themselves and define the culture.'
“For once, I agree with Sam Brownback. This is exactly what will happen in Kansas. That is why it is imperative that the names of all the applicants be released so the general public and senators can draw comparisons to make the judgment of whether Caleb Stegall truly is the most qualified.”