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Brownback waxed nostalgic, noting new displays in the renovated Statehouse proclaim a line from the Kansas Constitution that “all political power is inherent to the people.” He said government had become “omnipresent” while people feel distant from the process.

“Too many decisions are made by unaccountable, opaque institutions,” Brownback said in a reference to the judicial branch.

Last session, legislators approved Brownback’s desired changes to how judges to the Kansas Court of Appeals are selected by giving him the power to appoint nominees, subject to Senate confirmation.

Kansas Supreme Court justices in attendance declined to comment about Brownback’s remarks.