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Archive for September, 2014

Justice Beier

Justice Beier

Kansas is a “red” conservative state with a “blue” state Supreme Court and a liberal media supporting the latter.

But even the slavish Kansas media is having a hard time keeping the illusion alive that the behavior of Kansas’ top Court is ethically disciplined and above politics.

Last week the Court rushed to rule that the name of a Democrat candidate for U.S. Senate would not appear on the upcoming ballot. (more here)

No one disputes that the withdrawal was aimed at consolidating opposition to pro-life GOP Sen. Pat Roberts behind a newly-emerged, “independent-but-Democrat leaning,” pro-abortion, multi-millionaire challenger, Greg Orman.

The widely acknowledged impact of the Kansas Supreme Court’s decision could be to help unseat Roberts. The media gleefully positioned the ruling as slapping down a partisan Secretary of State who would not deem a candidate’s hasty withdrawal as legal.

But the Court was not done. It gave Democrats another gift: the time delay they needed to avoid selecting a replacement candidate for the Democrat ticket, as required by law. The Court on Tuesday sent that issue to a lower court with an indefensible excuse, read: The Kansas Supremes Give Democrats Exactly What They Wanted . . . Again

However, another story arose the same day, one the press groaned inwardly to report because it shredded what few excuses there were to insist the Court’s decision was above board: complaints from the GOP that a fundraiser for the extremely anti-life Democrat gubernatorial candidate would be held that night at the home of State Supreme Court Justice, Carol Beier!

The most incensed media outlet was the uber-liberal (and rather raunchy) “alternative” online source, The Pitch, based in Kansas City. Reporter Steve Vockrodt wrote

[Carol Beier is] often accused by the state’s Republican activists of advancing stridently liberal ideology on the state’s highest court.
A Tuesday-evening backyard barbecue at Beier’s house thrown in support of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Paul Davis, however, seems tailor-made to amplify such claims while calling into question the judge’s integrity.
“It’s my husband’s event,” Beier tells The Pitch. “I’ve taken pains not to be involved in it.”
But it’s hard to see the upside to holding a campaign event at the home of a top judicial official, someone who could have a say on the legal muster of legislation that Davis might sign as a future governor. At best, it’s reckless.
Both Beier and Davis are lawyers who should understand that even the appearance of a conflict of interest is a troublesome prospect. But neither seems bothered by the question today.

While it is true that no rule in the Kansas Code of Judicial Conduct limits the political activities of a judge’s family, the media is warning Beier, and the Court, such blatantly partisan stunts are nearly impossible for the media to spin as passing the smell test.

The media will, however, continue to help the liberals and anti-lifers. They sanitized the Paul Davis lap dance story and refused to link it to his role in opposing (and mocking) state proposals to regulate strip clubs over the past few years. (see Community Defense bill vote here)

The media has portrayed the Kansas state Supreme Court ruling as a rebuke to a partisan Secretary of State—not as inappropriate activism by a pro-Democrat Court wanting to help prevent the Republican Party’s takeover of the U.S. Senate. But consider….

  • There was no media mention that the Supreme Court majority are Sebelius-appointees unvetted by the Senate and selected by an elitist committee.
  • There was no questioning why a longtime Democrat advisor and long-time business partner with the state Democrat Party, Justice Dan Biles, didn’t recuse himself from an issue so critical to the democrat party interests.

It is supposed to be commonly held that the media and judges discipline themselves to be neutral. But consider, as a mental exercise, whether the Kansas Court rulings and media stories would be the same if it were the GOP overturning the results of a state primary to achieve a back-room-made deal disadvantaging the Democrats.

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Sec. of State Kobach (l) tried to keep Chad Taylor on US Senate ballot

Sec. of State Kris Kobach (l) was overruled on keeping Chad Taylor (r) on ballot

As we predicted after Tuesday’s hearing, the Kansas Supreme Court ordered that the name of Shawnee County District Attorney, Chad Taylor, be removed from the ballot as the Democrat contender for U.S. Senate.

It remains unsettled whether the final ballot for the Kansas U.S. Senate seat will include a Democrat because Secretary of State, Kris Kobach, asserts that the state Democrat Party is legally obligated to submit a replacement candidate for Taylor. At a press conference Thursday, Kobach announced the new Democrat name must be received by noon, Sept. 26.

UPDATE, 5pm, Fri. Sept.19: The AP now reports that Kobach’s office sent a directive to county officials, telling them to move ahead with mailing the ballots without having a Democrat nominee listed for the U.S. Senate race.

Taylor had filed at the last possible hour to remove his name (see more here) and has not yet commented on the reason he withdrew. The Kansas law on this matter was supposedly strengthened to prevent such late withdrawals of candidates for purely partisan calculations that disenfranchise those who voted in the primary.

The state Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling late Thursday remained very narrow and focused, declaring that Taylor’s official request to remove his name “pursuant to” the statute was acceptable, without a declaration of his “incapability to serve.”

Kobach told Bloomberg News he was disappointed:

 “The court’s decision essentially nullifies what the legislature did in 1997 when they inserted 14 words into the law to require a candidate declare that he is incapable of fulfilling the duties of office.”

Incumbent Republican U.S. Senator, Pat Roberts, is the only pro-life candidate for that office. He commented about the ruling, “This is not only a travesty to Kansas voters, but it’s a travesty to the judicial system and our electoral process.”

Pundits point out that elimination of a Democrat nominee will benefit lately-entered “independent” candidate,  Greg Orman. Multi-millionnaire Orman has already spent over $900,000.00 on TV commercials.

The state Supreme Court did not rule Thursday on the legal duty to supply a Democrat substitute for Taylor, but a motion for the Court to address this issue has now been filed by a disgruntled Democrat.

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KS Supreme Court, currently awaits installation of Calb Stegall

Kansas Supreme Court, 6 current members- top row and bottom right selected by former Gov. Sebelius.  Caleb Stegall to join Dec.5.

As it was a decade ago, the Kansas Supreme Court is smack dab in the middle of a controversy affecting pro-lifers.

Back then, the top Court was being utilized by abortion attorneys to halt then-Attorney General Phill Kline’s battle to enforce state late-term abortion laws.

Today, the state Supreme Court held a hearing over an election law. Their ruling will affect efforts to retain a true pro-life Kansas Senator, and to thwart the anti-life agenda of President Obama and Sen. Majority leader, Harry Reid.

U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, a stalwart pro-life Republican, is on the ballot for re-election in November. The Democrat opponent, Chad Taylor, caused a shockwave when he filed to remove himself from the race during the last hour of the last possible legal day to do so, Sept. 3.

It is not debated that Taylor, without state-wide name recognition and funding, was urged by anti-Roberts interests to bow out, in hopes of clearing a path for recently-declared, ‘independent’, candidate Greg Orman. The political bosses calculated that a lone, multi-millionnaire candidate might better take down incumbent Roberts, following his bruising GOP primary fight.

What the Kansas Supreme Court heard today, was whether Taylor properly effectuated his request under state law. In 1997, Kansas altered the law which had allowed candidates to leave the race at any time.

Testimony showed a rash of “placeholder” candidates who got on the ballot by primary, and then relinquished their candidacy–allowing party bosses to secure rising, more viable candidates on the ballot at the last minute. Such “placeholder” candidates violate the integrity of elections, and undermine voters in favor of back-room dealing.

Thus, the legislature changed Kansas statute 25-306a to require that candidates can only get their name off the ballot– after the primary– by

  1.  death, or
  2. declaring they are “incapable of fulfilling the duties of office if elected.”

Taylor is alive—although not talking to media. He remains the Shawnee County (Topeka) District Attorney. The legal disagreement is whether it was sufficient for him to request that his name be deleted “pursuant to” the relevant statute, without claiming any incapacity to serve.

Kansas Secretary of State, Kris Kobach, whose office oversees electoral matters, insists he was forced to do his duty and refuse to remove Taylor’s name because Taylor had not made any “declaration” of any “incapability.” Kobach also contends that this is not a case of him trying to help fellow Republican Roberts.

The Kansas Supreme Court, whose members generally hold themselves out as being able to overcome their own personal partisan influences [LOL] will attempt to rule very narrowly on the smallest legal point. They aggressively questioned the Secretary of State’s contention that Taylor’s request was not in “substantial” compliance. Substantial was not defined, but contrasted with absolute compliance to every provision of the statute. The fact that past candidate removal requests had not been notarized, for example, was illustrative that Kobach’s office had made some judgment calls—inferring that this was a step too far.

It is assumed that the Court will issue its ruling tomorrow; they are in “emergency” mode as the state ballots must be printed by Friday. It’s dangerous to predict these things, but it seems likely that the Court will uphold Taylor’s request –and surely it will not be because four of the seven justices were selected by past-Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius!

If the Court does rule that Taylor is off the ballot, a related issue that was not discussed in today’s hearing, is whether the state Democrat party must supply a substitute candidate. Stay tuned!

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