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KC wants $2.1M award for judge applicant tossed

By AP/St. Louis Public Radio


An attorney for Kansas City says a municipal court applicant who says she was passed over because she is white should not be able to sue for racial discrimination.

Melissa Howard was awarded $2.1 million in 2008 after her bid to be a municipal judge was rejected several times. Kansas City council members pick judges from three finalists chosen by a nominating committee.

Howard and the two other finalists are white women. Kansas City officials expressed concern about a lack of diversity.

An attorney for Howard told the state Supreme Court on Thursday that state law bars employers from refusing to hire people because of their race. An attorney for Kansas City says that law does not apply to Howard because she was seeking to be a public official and not an employee.