Posts Tagged ‘Kansas Court of Appeals’

KS appeals court

Kansas Court of Appeals to probe dismemberment ban

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, all 14 judges of Kansas’ state Court of Appeals will begin analyzing all legal briefs, pro and con, for an expedited hearing on the grisly topic of dismemberment abortions.

That includes a “friend of the court” brief submitted by Kansans for Life in support of Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt. Schmidt is appealing a lower court decision that blocked implementation of the state’s first-in-the-nation Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act.

Oral arguments are set for December 9.

Last July, Shawnee County District Court Judge Larry Hendricks issued an injunction, blocking Senate Bill 95 from going in effect. (read more

The Act bans a barbaric abortion method that tears apart living, well-formed unborn babies while in their mother’s wombs.

A.G. Schmidt

A.G. Schmidt

The preliminary 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.

But the abortionists’ lawsuit was not filed in the federal court route that ends with the U.S. Supreme Court. The Kansas Attorney General’s legal team points out clearly in its filings that the abortionists logically should have taken that path, but instead are pursuing the state court path that ends with the state Supreme Court.

Why? Two reasons. Abortion attorneys:

  1.  recognize this Act could well be upheld for the nation, and
  2.  want to, instead, carve out a state right to abortion as interpreted into the Bills of Rights section of the Kansas Constitution.

The explanation for #1 is that dismemberment method abortions were examined at some length by the U.S. Supreme Court during their deliberations on partial-birth abortions. The Court assessed both methods as “brutal.”

In its 2007 Gonzales decision, the High Court upheld a prohibition on the gruesome partial-birth method, as furthering “legitimate interests in regulating the medical profession in order to promote respect for life, including life of the unborn.”

The explanation for #2 is that the Kansas state Supreme Court has shown a decidedly pro-abortion bias over the past two decades. Abortion attorneys are attempting to take advantage of that, hoping that the Kansas Supreme Court will “discover” a right-to-abortion in the state Constitution.

Everyone knows that is what is happening. The Nov. 15 “rebuttal” filing from the Kansas Attorney General observed that,

“[this suit invites] Kansas courts to take on a long rejected activist role: to change the people’s Constitution of the past 150 years in order to recognize “rights” that Plaintiffs may deem politically or morally expedient, but which an overwhelming majority of Kansans do not support.

The Kansas Court of Appeals has been asked by the Kansas Attorney General to rule on whether the lower court– that opined dismemberment abortions cannot be banned –erred in two areas:

  • misstating the relevant U.S. Supreme Court findings, and
  • claiming that there exists a state right to abortion.

The abortion attorneys have clearly misstated the U.S. Supreme Court—and that’s why they don’t want to end up there.

DIsmembering a living unborn child

Dismembering a living unborn child

As to the claim that Kansas has a state abortion right, attorneys for the Center for Women’s Health argue that permitting abortionists to dismember living babies till they bleed to death is part of a woman’s liberty right, and a development of Kansas’ “pro-woman” history. They cite that, from its inception, Kansas gave women the right to hold property and vote in school elections.

How absurd is that stretch?!  Unless a baby is merely property that can be dismembered/shredded in the manner that is most convenient for abortionists. However, the Supreme Court’s most recent abortion ruling of 2007 doesn’t invest abortionists with veto power over the state legislature:

“Physicians are not entitled to ignore regulations that direct them to use reasonable alternative procedures. The law need not give abortion doctors unfettered choice in the course of their medical practice, nor should it elevate their status above other physicians in the medical community.[Gonzales v. Carhart, p.163]

“The medical profession, furthermore, may find different and less shocking methods to abort the fetus in the second trimester, thereby accommodating legislative demand.[p.160]

There is more yet to be aired on what attorneys are claiming in “friend of the court” briefs now being digested by the Kansas appellate court

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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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