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Archive for the ‘Kansas Courts’ Category

Justice Stegall

“Kansas’ highest court appeared receptive Thursday to declaring for the first time that the state constitution recognizes abortion rights,”  wrote the Associated Press’s John Hanna Thursday.

Indeed, the questions from the majority of Kansas Supreme Court Justices hearing oral arguments in the most important pro-life case in Kansas history, seemed focused on how—not whether– an abortion right will be framed to support a lower court injunction on dismemberment abortions.

Only one Justice, Caleb Stegall, repeatedly probed the problems of the Court “discovering” new abortion protection that, in effect, gives constitutional rights to some groups and not others (the unborn).

SB 95, which Kansas enacted in 2015, is titled the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act. The measure prohibits abortions in which the fully-formed unborn child is torn apart with sharp metal tools, bit by bit, while still alive, inside her mother.

Unfortunately, the justices, the media, and those of us in the audience, never heard any description of an actual dismemberment abortion yesterday.

Instead, according to Janet Crepps, an abortion attorney for the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR), women are the victims under SB 95. She told the justices that second-trimester non-dismemberment abortion methods were “experimental” and “painful” for women and an affront to their “privacy, autonomy, dignity and bodily integrity.”

Abortion atty,
Janet Crepps

And she said that with a straight face.

Solicitor General Stephen McAllister argued that abortion supporters want the Kansas Supreme Court to engage in a brand of judicial activism that ignored the text of the state’s constitution and the history of pro-life laws enacted in Kansas.

“If the people of Kansas want to create a constitutional right to abortion, they have a ready mechanism for doing so — the constitutional amendment process. Kansans have not been shy about utilizing it,” he explained.

CRR’s Crepps urged the justices to declare a “fundamental” right to abortion even broader than that created by Roe v. Wade, based on a “liberty” interest which has “evolved” during the nation’s “march to progress.”

She clearly aimed to undermine the “compelling” state interests that justify abortion restrictions and that are currently honored by the U.S. Supreme Court. These interests, cited in the 2007 Gonzales ruling upholding a ban on partial-birth abortions, include:

  1. That the State may use its regulatory power to bar certain procedures and substitute others, all in furtherance of its legitimate interests in regulating the medical profession.
  2. That the government may use its voice and its regulatory authority to show its profound respect for the life within the woman.

When questioned when the unborn merited constitutional rights, Crepps replied that those rights “attached” at birth.

At birth. That did not make its way into the Associated Press story, nor any other story in the Kansas media.

Abortion up until birth is an extreme position that very, very few Americans agree with.

A long line of discussion ensued on how that position can be reconciled with Kansas laws, including the fetal homicide statute [Alexa’s Law] allowing for prosecution of crimes resulting in the murder of unborn babies. Justice Stegall asked Crepps:

“How can we convict somebody of murder of an entity that has no inalienable rights, has no right to life? How can that be consistent? How can the state do that?”

Two of the justices seemed more concerned that without a state abortion “right,” women “would be forced to give birth” and pregnant women could “lose their lives.”

Lost in the discussion is the fact that abortion regulations in Kansas have always allowed “life of the mother” exceptions.

rally dismemberment sign

2015 Rally for Life urges ban on dismemberment abortions

The painful and barbaric nature of dismemberment abortion –violence that, under Kansas law, is not tolerated for pets and livestock in Kansas—was ignored.

Mc Allister warned the justices that the case before them does not require the drastic judicial activism that Crepps promotes, and that was exhibited in Roe v Wade, causing “more than four decades of havoc.

He closed his remarks with a quote from Justice Bryon White’s dissent in Roe: “As an exercise of raw judicial power, the Court perhaps has authority to do what it does today, but, in my view, its judgment is an improvident and extravagant exercise of the power of judicial review that the Constitution extends to this Court.”

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Kansas Supreme Court

The Kansas Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Thursday morning in the most important pro-life issue ever to be decided in state history: whether a previously unknown  “fundamental” right to abortion is part of the 1859 state Constitution’s Bill of Rights.

This momentous case began in June of 2015, when abortion interests sued SB 95, the newly-enacted Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act. This first-in-the nation ban—which other states have enacted and others are now seeking to pass—would prohibit the barbaric method of tearing apart fully-formed unborn children, piece by piece, while they are still alive inside their mother.

Shawnee District Court Judge Larry Hendricks issued a temporary injunction against the measure. He concluded that abortion interests would eventually prevail when a state right to abortion was officially acknowledged. A split decision of the Kansas Court of Appeals on the matter last January left Hendricks’ injunction in place.

Solicitor General Stephen McAllister will argue the case for the KS A.G.

The legal team for the Kansas Attorney General, Derek Schmidt, has rigorously defended SB 95 as an authentic exercise of the state’s regulatory powers. They have repeatedly argued that any idea that Kansas actually has enshrined a right to abortion “is a fantasy.”

KFL FRIEND OF THE COURT BRIEF
As it had for the first appeal of SB 95, Kansans for Life filed an “amicus curiae” (friend of the court) brief, buttressing the arguments of the Attorney General.

The KFL amicus asks that the Kansas Supreme Court reverse the injunction issued by Judge Hendricks and “declare that no right to abortion can be implied or created based on the text, history, and jurisprudence of this state.” The amicus points out:

  1. The Hendricks’ ruling is in direct conflict with the primacy of place given to the right to life in the Kansas Bill of Rights, which declares, “All men are possessed of equal and inalienable natural rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
  2. The litigation against SB 95 thus far has treated the case as if no application of the ban is constitutional (called a facial challenge) when in fact, the abortionists challenging the ban have presented documentation that undermines that claim.
  3. The same logic that upheld the federal partial-birth abortion ban (in the 2007  U.S. Supreme Court’s Gonzales ruling) will also uphold a ban on the equally horrific shredding of still-alive unborn children.
  4. Senate Bill 95 is based on the simple proposition that causing gratuitous pain to other human beings is fundamentally wrong— the foundation of the Kansas statutory prohibition of torture and enhanced penalties for crimes involving torture.

In its conclusion, the KFL brief advises the Kansas Supreme Court that:

“There simply is no basis in the Kansas Bill of Rights for a ruling that requires the state to tolerate live dismemberment abortion – a ruling that affords unborn children less protection than afforded by state statute to the livestock in this state.”

Many pro-lifers are praying that the justices will be positively affected in this hearing tomorrow. The hearing will be live streamed here.

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Judge Franklin Theis

Judge Franklin Theis

Abortionist Neuhaus

Abortionist Kris Neuhaus

I experienced an all-too familiar shudder when I recently learned Shawnee District Judge Franklin Theis had again overturned the Kansas State Healing Arts Board’s decision to revoke the license of disgraced abortionist Kris Neuhaus.

The first time her medical license was revoked, in July 2012, was for “professional incompetence” and “failing to meet minimum requirements for maintaining records.”  In March 2014, Judge Theis overturned the Board’s revocation.

The Board revoked Neuhaus’s license a second time in January 2015. (read more here)

Par for the course, Judge Theis took two years to issue his most recent decision undermining the Kansas State Healing Arts Board.

This is the same judge who, for five years, stalled motions to move forward on the lawsuit blocking Kansas’ long-sought law regulating abortion clinics.

ksbha-safeguardingThe Board, which has conservatively spent about $100,000 on this Neuhaus case, will consider how to proceed at their June meeting. (read more here)

I ploughed through Judge Theis’ brain-numbing 97-page ruling. The bottom line is that Judge Theis believes the Board’s “charge list” against Neuhaus is improperly worded under statute and misuses their own Disciplinary Guidelines grid.

INFAMOUS SCHEME
Neuhaus is the failed abortionist who made a living from 1999-2007 rubberstamping the legally-required mental health referrals for late-term abortions. She performed this “service” minutes before the abortions, and inside the Wichita abortion clinic of the late George Tiller.

Under the 1998 state law, the role she was supposed to play was that of an “independent” check on post-viability abortions by providing bona fide second opinions on maternal health. According to court records, before Neuhaus accepted the job, Tiller had called approximately 100 Kansas physicians who refused to participate in such an arrangement.

The specific patient cases used by the Board to justify Neuhaus’ revocation were

11 teens in 2003 for whom she used an online mental health “tool” to certify that the girls required third-trimester abortions.

Kansas has since banned all abortions after 20 weeks due to the unborn child’s proven capacity to experience pain. (read more on the law here)

COURT SAGA
The 58-year-old Neuhaus has been officially in trouble with the Board for the better part of the last 25 years, which has twice characterized her as a “danger to the public.”

Thousands of citizen petitions about Neuhaus had been sent to the state Board before it acted to revoke her medical license in July 2012 for

  1.  incompetence;
  2.  failing to meet the standard of care; and
  3.  record-keeping failure.

But in March of 2014, Judge Theis tossed the Board’s first two findings. He said they were based only on “an inference” from problems with her records –or lack of records–and remanded the case back to the Board  to refine the third charge.

The Kansas Court of Appeals refused to reverse Theis’s ruling in June of 2014. (read more here)

In January 2015, the Board issued a second revocation, and a lowered legal bill for Neuhaus to reimburse.  The Board characterized her as stubborn and “incapable of successful rehabilitation.”

Seems to me that description could also be applied to Judge Theis. Stay tuned.

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crying-baby-say-no-to-activist-judgesKansans for Life applauds all those pro-lifers who cast votes yesterday to oust activist justices on our state Supreme Court and Court of Appeals.  Sadly, we missed the mark.

And while all the targeted activists on the highest two courts kept their jobs, they only held on by small margins. KFL executive director, Mary Kay Culp said,

“For now we can only hope the judges have learned a powerful lesson to stop ‘legislating from the bench’… especially as they face the most important abortion lawsuit in our state’s history.”

KFL’s priority message, “reject all but Stegall,” focused on retention elections for five current Supreme Court Justices. Justices stand for retention every six years and cannot remain on the bench if they fall below 50% approval. Yesterday, voters only gave 55-56% support to Justices Lawton Nuss, Marla Luckert, Dan Biles and Carol Beier.

caleb

Justice Caleb Stegall

Justice Caleb Stegall received 71% support, which was deserved. Appointed in 2014, he has not been part of any Supreme Court abortion animus, nor was he part of all the decisions that were soundly overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Chief Justice Nuss– who is the only sitting Justice to have ever been admonished by the ethics oversight committee– has lost the most public support over the last twelve years. In 2004, retention figures were: Nuss 82.2%,  Luckert, 76.5% and Beier, 76.4%. Biles was not yet on the court.

In 2010, after KFL called for pro-lifers to remove activist judges under the slogan,”Fire Beier,” the approval rating of all four justices dropped to 62-63%.

In 2012, our top judges began their own public relations campaign, in which they traversed the state to “connect” with the people. Members of both the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals have since made hundreds of town hall educational presentations. They also have been the beneficiaries of pro-retention media campaigns and at least $540,000.00 in television ads this year (see here).

Appellate Judge Kathryn Gardner

Appellate Judge Kathryn Gardner

When it comes to abortion, the recent history of the Kansas Supreme Court has not been fair and impartial.(see here) They have twice ducked ruling on the most important  abortion lawsuit in our state’s history– the ban on dismemberment-method abortions— until they could get past the Nov. 8th retention elections.  In the interim, the Court of Appeals completely botched their ruling. The Court of Appeals was hopelessly divided on whether the state may ban brutal and inhumane procedures done on fully-formed unborn children.

Our KFL judicial initiative had a modest budget without funds for television or drive-time radio. We activated the grass roots and hosted the Better Judges for Kansas website.  Included were essays (archived here) explaining abortion bias in the courts and how the court rulings are exasperatingly untethered from the state constitution.

Appellate Judge David E. Bruns

Appellate Judge David E. Bruns

Our secondary goal was ousting judges on the Court of Appeals who had indefensibly sided with abortion attorney’s invention of a state right to abortion, even broader than that of Roe v Wade.

The Court of Appeals is up for retention every  four years. The judges up for retention Nov. 8 who claim our 1859 founders wanted to protect abortion are Steve Leben, G.Joseph Pierron, Karen Arnold-Burger and G. Gordon Atcheson. These four felt the public’s disapproval when they received only 59-60% support, down from 71-74% in 2012.

The two Court of Appeals judges on Tuesday’s ballot who had properly let our Kansas Constitution be their yardstick on the abortion issue were David Bruns and Kathryn Gardner. The public gave Bruns 72% support (75% in 2012) and Gardner, 73% (first election since appointment).

Our Kansas Bill of Rights rests on “the right to life,” yet there is still much to be done to protect the unborn in Kansas. We ask all those who joined with us on the issue of judicial retention to stay engaged and be encouraged, as the truth is on the side of life!

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Kris Neuhaus

Kris Neuhaus

[UPDATE Nov. 9: Caddell lost with under 32% of the vote.] Michael Caddell, the husband of notorious abortionist, Kris (Ann Kristin) Neuhaus, is the Democratic candidate for State Representative of Dist. 47 in rural, northeast Kansas. Caddell, 61, is a “semi-retired” producer of left-wing podcasts and a “self-described hell-raiser” (according to the Lawrence Journal World).

Most pro-life Kansans know Neuhaus as the abortionist with two decades of disciplinary interactions from the State Board of Healing Arts, culminating in revocation of her medical license. The Board assessed her as incompetent, “showing no signs of remorse” and “incapable of successful rehabilitation.”

Judge Franklin Theis

District Judge Franklin Theis

Shawnee County District Judge Franklin Theis has inexcusably indulged her efforts to get the license reinstated. The second appeal from her has been dormant in his possession for 18 months.

Judge Theis is the master of ‘delay-delay-delay’ when it comes to Neuhaus –as well as to Kansas abortion litigation. He has unduly stalled, for over five years, implementation of the abortion clinic licensure law which pro-lifers had worked ten years to achieve.

Judge Franklin Theis is on the Shawnee County ballot for retention. Pro-lifers cannot support him.

UNQUALIFIED FOR PUBLIC OFFICE
Michael Caddell’s political views are further to the left than those of Bernie Sanders and in fact balks at having to don the Democrat label because he thinks it’s too conservative! Caddell had been licensed to carry a gun through 2005 and “provided security” outside various abortion clinics–mainly where his wife worked.

Salina Post, 3-5-91: Mike Caddell, editor of the Frankfort Alternative Index, has come under fire from Frankfort residents for his views

Salina Post, 3-5-91: Mike Caddell, editor of the Frankfort Alternative Index, has come under fire from Frankfort residents for his views

Caddell failed repeatedly to indoctrinate rural Kansas towns with his radical socialist manifestos. (see here and here) When living in Westmoreland, in the early 1990’s, he bought three small news weeklies and in short order the staff quit and the papers folded. Residents there, in the shadow of Ft. Riley, didn’t appreciate his anti-war diatribes and style of muckraking. In Nortonville, where he and Neuhaus now live, residents were both insulted and repulsed at his attempts at journalism. As the Lawrence Journal World reported:

Nortonville’s mayor submitted copies of Caddell’s “Flying Cock-fighter” flyer to the county attorney, registering a complaint about the obscenity. “He’s a screwball…a nut,” Mayor Herman Ackmann said of Caddell. “Why he thinks he’s a journalist, I’ll never know.”

Most certainly, District 47 constituents should reject Michael Caddell for state representative, much less any public office.

NEUHAUS SAGA REVISITED
Kris Neuhaus is the failed abortionist with two decades of disciplinary interactions from the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts. It began with the federal Drug Enforcement Agency stripping her of prescription authority in 1998, followed by patient complaints and Board interventions in which she was twice labeled a “danger to the public.”

ksbha-logoNeuhaus held on to her medical license (under conditions of Board monitoring and additional training) and eventually her sole income came from supplying George Tiller with “independent referrals” for late-term abortions. Before Tiller’s death in May of 2009, the Board had initiated revocation of the licenses of both Tiller and Neuhaus. After arduous and expensive state proceedings, Neuhaus’ license was revoked…and overturned…and revoked again– and the second appeal is not yet completed, due to Judge Theis.

QUICK FACTS ON NEUHAUS REVOCATION :

  • July 2012- The state Board revoked her Kansas medical license for “professional incompetence” and “failing to meet minimum requirements for maintaining records.”  Neuhaus appealed.
  • March 2014- Judge Theis overturned the revocation and sent the matter back to the Board for reconsideration.
  • Jan. 2015- The Board issued a second revocation against Neuhaus on the single issue of incomplete medical files for 11 teens obtaining third trimester abortions through Tiller. The legal costs owed the Board were reassessed at just under $32,000.00.say-no-judges
  • March 2015- Neuhaus appealed.
  • Nov. 2016- Judge Theis has not yet ruled on the repayment issue with further action on the stalled appeal scheduled for phone conference next week …AFTER the judge’s retention election.

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2015 Rally for Life 2015 Rally for Life urges ban on dismemberment abortion bans

Last April, Kansas became the first state to pass legislation barring the barbaric dismemberment method abortions. Now, under challenge  by pro-abortionists, that first-of-its-kind law, which is on hold, is about to be reviewed by the Kansas Supreme Court.

This ban prohibits the gruesome abortion method of tearing apart fully-formed, living babies– limb by limb– until they bleed to death.

The Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act, model legislation drafted by the National Right to Life Committee, has since been enacted by Oklahoma, West Virginia, and (soon) Mississippi. This vital legislation has also been introduced in Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Idaho, Nebraska, Missouri, Louisiana, Rhode Island, and Utah.

Thus the impact of the ruling by our Supreme Court will extend beyond our state borders.

The premise of the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act comes from the U.S. Supreme Court Gonzales ruling. In that 2007 decision, the justices upheld a ban on partial-birth abortions by acknowledging that,

“the State may use its regulatory power to bar certain procedures and substitute others, all in furtherance of its legitimate interests in regulating the medical profession in order to promote respect for life, including life of the unborn.”

Abortion supporters have thus sought to find and secure in state constitutions a broader and more unassailable “right” to abortion.

pro-abortion judgesThat’s what happened in Kansas last June, when Shawnee District Court Judge Larry Hendricks blocked the ban on dismemberment abortions from going into effect.  Hendricks adopted abortion attorney arguments–literally–asserting that the Kansas state Constitution protects abortion even more fundamentally than the standard established by the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.

The temporary injunction was obtained by the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights on behalf of Kansas’ father-daughter abortionists at the Center for Women’s Health in suburban Kansas City.

The injunction allows three Kansas abortion businesses to continue to perform these grisly procedures — 629 last year–at a cost of up to $2,000 each.

That activist ruling by Judge Hendricks was left standing when the full Kansas Court of Appeals reviewed it and announced on January 22 that they were divided, 7-7.

However, pro-life Attorney General Derek Schmidt appealed the appellate decision to the state’s highest court. Schmidt argued that the appellate ruling does not make precedent and current abortion lawsuits remain in limbo without clear guidance. Yesterday, it was announced the appeal will be heard. (documents here) Here are the three questions that the state of Kansas has posed for the state Supreme Court to rule on:

  1. Does the Kansas Constitution create a right to abortion?
  2. If that right exists, does it clearly prevent government from regulating dismemberment abortions?
  3. Did the Court of Appeals wrongly accept the lower court’s facts and legal standard?

Our state Constitution was enacted in 1859, when abortion was illegal in Kansas and across the nation. Yet one radical judge of the Kansas Court of Appeals, G. Gordon Atcheson (writing to concur with the injunction against the dismemberment abortion ban) believes that the state Constitution is an “evolving” document with an “ever more enlightened understanding of humanity” and women’s “self-determination.”

Mary Kay Culp, KFL executive director commented, “The challenge we face is whether a majority of the Kansas Supreme Court will follow the U.S. Supreme Court’s holding that allows states to ban barbaric abortion methods, or whether it will follow Appellate Judge Atcheson’s opinion that the dismembering of unborn children comports with an ‘enlightened understanding of humanity’.”

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Ks Supreme Ct

The Kansas Supreme Court

Filed electronically after 5p.m. tonight, Monday, the Kansas Supreme Court has granted review of the appeal by the Kansas Attorney General in the matter of the Kansas Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act. (documents here)

The hearing has not yet been set and both sides will file supplemental briefs to be submitted within 30 days. Here is the  summary of litigation thus far:

Pro-life Gov. Sam Brownback signed SB 95, the dismemberment method ban, on April 7, 2015 after it passed 31-9 in the Senate and 98-26 in the House. The law is not in effect.

The Overland Park Center for Women’s Health (CWH), the office of father -daughter abortion duo, Herb Hodes and Traci Nauser, filed suit against the ban in federal court and won a temporary injunction from Shawnee District Court Judge Larry Hendricks June 25, 2015.  Judge Hendricks adopted the arguments of the abortion attorneys hook, line and sinker.

Attorney General Derek Schmidt filed an appeal of that ruling, claiming that it is “a fantasy” that the Kansas state constitution of 1859 protects a right to abortion (much less one that upholds gruesome dismemberment of living, well-formed unborn children!).

The appeal was taken up by the Kansas Court of Appeals when the Kansas Supreme Court refused to intervene. On Jan. 22, 2016, the appellate court delivered a split ruling which meant the lower court temporary injunction would be upheld.

The Attorney General again filed an appeal, this time asking the Kansas Supreme Court to expeditiously review the appellate decision, asserting that

the Court of Appeals wasn’t truly split, but rather had ruled 7-6-1, finding there is no protection for abortion under the Kansas Constitution.

The Kansas Supreme Court needs to move expeditiously for several reasons, urges the A.G. filing; two other lawsuits filed by CWH (in 2011 and 2013) are lagging in state court and would be directly impacted by a decision about this so-called fundamental state right to abortion.

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