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Posts Tagged ‘Kansas Supreme Court’

Senate VP Jeff King

Sen. Jeff King

28 of 40 Kansas Senators voted Wednesday to approve two measures allowing reform of the judicial nomination system. It would affect all the state’s highest justices and judges–those on the Kansas Supreme Court and Court of Appeals.

The current system, “does not have the legitimacy for the voters of the state of Kansas that it needs,” according to the bill sponsor, new Senate Vice-president, Jeff King (R-Independence).

The first Senate bill, SCR 1601, allows the public to vote to change the Kansas Constitution method of selecting the state Supreme Court and needs 2/3 approval of both chambers to be put on the 2014 ballot. SCR 1601 would put the selection of the appellate court into the state Constitution.

SCR 1601 mirrors the House measure, HCR 5002, applying to selection for both courts, and which passed favorably out of the House Judiciary committee last week, following extensive testimony over three days.

The Senate also passed a second, companion bill SB 8, creating a seven-member commission that would review the caliber of the Governor’s nominee for use in Senate confirmation.

Kansans for Life is scoring these measures as pro-life; we have long supported judicial selection reform measures that improve transparency and public involvement.  In 2006, we scored as pro-life a vote supporting a more modest reform measure allowing Senate confirmation of state Supreme Court nominees. During Senate confirmation, the public can learn of the leanings and past rulings of the nominees, similar to the vetting that happens at the federal level for nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Sen. majority leader Terry Bruce

Sen. Terry Bruce

The current method of filling each vacancy for the state’s Supreme and appellate courts is considered secretive and non-democratic. In private deliberations, the judicial nominating committee, composed of five lawyers and four non-lawyers, selects three names from which the governor must choose one. The reform would give the governor free reign for picking a nominee, which the Senate –in open session– would have to vote whether to confirm or not. In the latter case, the process starts anew.

The reform also eliminates the current nominating committee. New Senate Majority Leader, Terry Bruce (R-Hutchinson), described that committee as “distorted by special interest lawyers”.  Both Senators King and Bruce, who urged the reform measures, are themselves attorneys by profession; but many attorneys, including the Kansas Bar association, have long fought to keep the nominating committee.

More discussion of the Kansas courts’ pro-abortion bias and testimony about the nominating committee political bias will appear in a follow-up post.

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For the fifth year in a row, the governor’s desk will be hit with a mandate for KDHE (the health department) to obey the abortion reporting law.   HB 2115 passed in the Senate 24-15 and in the House by a vote of 83-36.

Given the fact that similar measures to fix KDHE reporting were vetoed by Gov. Sebelius, every year from 2006 through 2009, HB 2115 may also be vetoed by Gov. Parkinson.

Pro-choice senators who registered their annual complaint about “misuse of legislative process,” couldn’t care less about the nearly 3000 babies wrongfully and criminally terminated through the “misuse of the abortion reporting process.”

In 1998, Kansas passed a law protecting viable unborn children from being aborted in the second half of pregnancy.  The only legal exceptions are for pregnancies that endanger the mother’s life  and those that 2 physicians agree would damage the mother substantially and irreversibly.

  • Any abortion done as an exception to the law was to have been recorded with a maternal medical reason to KDHE.
  • For over 12 years, KDHE processed 2,945 viable abortions (see chart), without any semblance of a medical reason.
  • At an average cost of $5000 each–  these fraudulently documented abortions yielded $15 million!

During special House & Senate joint hearings (more…)

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When Kansas attorneys misbehave, disserve their client or  otherwise betray their responsibilities as officers of the court, complaints are supposed to be dealt with by the “Disciplinary” Administrator, Stan Hazlett.

UPDATE March 23: Rucker files new motion accusing Hazlett of  pure political posturing.

Hazlett is supposed to be the absolute model of restraint and neutrality on cases that are proceeding.  However, Hazlett has been demonstrating a pro-abortion bias in recent inappropriate comments made about an ongoing ethics case against Eric Rucker, who was chief deputy under former A.G. Phill Kline.  But who do we complain to about Hazlett?

When Rucker filed a formal motion asking for recusal of a panel member on his case with an apparent conflict of interest, Hazlett should have stayed silent.

It was up to the panel member to dispel any appearance of impropriety by recusing herself.  Secondarily, it is up to the chair of the board for the discipline of attorneys to make a ruling on the need for recusal.

Instead, Hazlett issued an opinion, excoriating Rucker’s request as “misleading, disingenuous and without merit.”   Hazlett mocked the documentary evidence as revealing “Kline’s obsession with Tiller and his clinic!”

Mr. Hazlett’s rhetoric is way out of line, particularly (more…)

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Jan.22 2009, Marching for Life in Topeka

Lifenews.com summarized the national pro-life stories that dominated in 2009, and we offer highlights from Kansas pro-life legislative and political news this past year:

January

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