Judicial Activism: Closer to home than you might think

 

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Judicial activism: Closer to home than you might think

It’s something you hear about across the country: Activist judges letting their own political beliefs interfere with issuing decisions based on the constitution, the law, and reasoned judgment.

It happens in Kansas too. Two separate cases put this problem in sharp focus this week.
First, on Wednesday the U.S. Supreme Court overruled the Kansas Supreme Court regarding the horrific Carr brothers’ case.
Second, on Friday the Kansas Court of Appeals created a right in the Kansas Constitution to tear the limbs off of unborn children.

Carr Brothers Case

Jonathan and Reginald Carr

Over 15 years ago, Jonathan and Reginald Carr brutally raped, robbed, kidnapped, and murdered five people in Wichita. They were later convicted and sentenced to death. Last year, the Kansas Supreme Court overturned their death sentences on a technicality.

But the U.S. Supreme Court weighed in this week, reinstated the death penalty, and reprimanded the Kansas court for misinterpreting the Constitution.
This is the second time now that the U.S. Supreme Court has had to intervene and redirect the Kansas Supreme Court to follow the law and use reasoned judgment.
It’s worth noting that eight out of nine U.S. Supreme Court Justices, across the ideological spectrum, reversed the Kansas Court’s opinion. Three of the most liberal Justices on the court– Ginsburg, Breyer, and Kagan–sided with the majority in overturning the Kansas Supreme Court.

Think about that.

The Kansas Supreme Court is to the left of three of the most historically left-wing U.S. Supreme Court Justices.

This decision is a victory for the families of the victims and the people of Kansas but it raises troubling concerns about why the Kansas Supreme Court would twist the United States constitution to rule in favor of two individuals who committed ‘almost inconceivable cruelty and depravity.’

Dismemberment Abortion Ban

The legislature approved a law last year banning a controversial abortion procedure that kills unborn children by tearing their limbs off one at a time.

Today, the Kansas Court of Appeals created a right for that barbaric practice in the Kansas Constitution by narrowly upholding an injunction on the new law, in a 7-7 split (which means the lower court’s opinion is upheld). The appeals judges that upheld the practice of dismemberment abortion decided that the Kansas Constitution is a changing document that for some reason deserves less respect due to being created by men in the 19th century.

But the dissenting opinion, written by Chief Judge Malone encapsulated the issue perfectly:

“[The plaintiffs] are asking this court to amend the Kansas Constitution to include by inference a right to abortion that is not expressly found in the text of the document. Article 14 of our state constitution provides a process for amendments to be proposed by the legislature and approved by the electors, and our constitution has been amended many times since it was originally adopted. If Kansans want to amend our constitution to include a state-law right to abortion, they may do so properly under Article 14; it should not be done by judicial decree.

  

What can we do?

Many Republicans in the legislature are already working to address this problem. Two years ago, the process of selecting appeals court judges was changed, going from the control of a handful of attorneys, to the more democratic federal model of executive appointment and Senate confirmation. Since then, Governor Brownback has appointed one judge (Kathryn Gardner) who sided with the dissenting opinion in this case. Unfortunately, there have not been enough vacancies under the new selection process to have a majority of Court of Appeals Judges who respect the Constitution

However, four appeals judges who sided with the majority in the dismemberment case will be up for retention election this fall. The judges’ names are G. Joseph Pierron,  Karen Arnold-Berger, G. Gordon Atcheson and Steve Leben. Accountability for their activism will be placed in the hands of Kansas voters in November.

Fixing the problems with the Supreme Court will require a change to the Kansas constitution. Currently, a small group of attorneys get to select the majority of the members members of the Supreme Court Nominating Commission, which has the job of picking three names to forward to the governor for appointment. There are other more democratic methods of judicial selection currently under consideration by the legislature this session. Changing the constitution will require 84 members of the House, and 27 members of the Senate to vote in favor of placing the proposal on the ballot in November’s general election, where half of the voters need to vote in favor of the change.

Additionally, the Kansas Supreme Court Justices who will be up for retention this fall and voted in favor of overturning the Carr brother’s death sentence include Lawton Nuss, Carol Beier, Marla Lukert, and Dan Biles.

Accent

The House GOP caucus has a blog featuring posts written by various members of the House Majority. Keep up with the blog to find out more about new bills and proposals under consideration by the legislature. Find it here
Listen to daily House session, find bills, and more at the Kansas legislature’s website. 
Accent

 

 

Whats the big debate” over Taxes?

Will Kansans fight for Free Enterprise, or

Just roll-over & accept Big Government?

If you want to know what’s happening at

the KS. Legislature, come to this Topeka

912 meeting to hear Earl Long and Mark

Saylor’s analyses and opinions!

Earl Long is a retired businessman, engineer, computer
programmer, tax reform advocate and champion of
Free Enterprise. He was a co-founder of the FairTax KC,
Inc., which was incorporated into Kansas FairTax
Association, an affiliate of American For Fair Taxation,
the  organization promoting the FairTax in Congress.
Topeka 912’s “own” Mark Saylor is a Topeka native; KU
1959 graduate; U.S. Naval officer on the aircraft carrier
USS Lexington 1959-1962; graduate of KU Medical School
the day before the 1966 Topeka Tornado; Board Certified
General Surgeon in Anacortes, WA 1971-1976 and Topeka
 1976-1995; member of the Kansas FairTax Assoc.
The floor will be open for Q&A after their presentation.
See you at the meeting Thursday. – Steve Ashcraft, Pres. Topeka 912
Topeka 912 – The Capital City Tea Party Meeting
Thursday, January 7, 2016
Time: 5:30p.m. Meet & Greet
6:00 p.m. TAX Presentation
Place: McFarland’s Restaurant (lower level)
4133 S.W. Gage Center Dr., Topeka,

 

 

 

Topical Summary of 2013 KS Bills

For more information, go to kslegislature.org, Bills and Laws, Reports, Laws: Bill Number

Public Schools/Education

SB 11 School finance; special ed. state aid; transportation of pupils; budget calculation; use of unencumbered funds. Can now use motor vehicle related revenue. And requires the Department of Ed to annually publish the following expenditures for each school district on a per pupil basis:(1) total expenditures; (2) capital outlay expenditures; (3) bond and interest expenditures: and (4) all other expenditures not included in (2) or (3).

SB 21 & 171 Amendments relating to school district funds, enacting the uniform financial accounting and reporting act

H Sub for Sub SB111 Special education funding; fund flexibility on expenditures of unencumbered balances in school funds for general operating expenses.

HB 2015 extends base state aid per pupil (BSAPP) at $4,433 or less or an amount not exceeding 30% of its general fund budget, ever which is greater. Property Tax levy of 20-mill remains.

In Conference Committee

SB sub for HB 2140 Kansas Reads to Succeed Act Which says National Assessment for Education Progress scores show 29% of 4th graders in Ks read below the ‘basics” level and the National Center for Education statistics states that 40 states are higher the Kansas on 4th grade reading. Bill would focus on developing intervention starting in first and second grade instead of third grade in schools having higher that statewide average of students who are scoring at the lowest achievement standard of the most recent state wide assessment.

Common Core

Defunding attempts failed at the last minute. Perhaps next year.

Abortion

SB 14 Creates a fund for Kansas newborn screening program

H Sub for SB36 licensing of abortion clinics by department of health and environment.

H Sub SB 62 Concerning medical care facilities: relating to abortion; Sterilization.

SB 142 Abortion; concerning civil actions related to abortion. Amends the wrongful death stature to include ‘unborn child’ with the definition of a ‘person’ for purposes of the wrongful death of an ‘unborn child’ caused by the wrongful act or omission of another. “Unborn child’ is defined as a living individual organism of the species homo sapiens, in utero, at any state of gestation from fertilization to birth.

SB 199 KU Med Center Now Midwest center for adult stem cell therapy

HB 2035 Omnibus Abortion amendments. The term “fetus” in the law is changed to “unborn child” and revised definitions of “Viability”, “abortion” and “partial birth abortion” are included. A new definition of “human being” is added. A civil cause of action is created regarding late-term abortions, partial birth abortions, and parental consent. The Attorney General, district attorney and county attorneys are authorized to prosecute criminal offenses.

HB 2218 New restrictions on “pain-capable child” after 22 weeks or more unless the physician believes that the pregnant woman might receive irreversible physical impairment or death.

HB 2253 KS Pro-life protection act: Recognizes that life begins at fertilization for purposes of public policy decisions. Presents state discrimination against pro-life entities. Restricts taxpayer funding for abortion. Defunds abortion training at the state university medical school Keeps abortion businesses out of public school sex-education. Codifies informed consent topics already used by the state health department. Strengthens medical and community support for Down Syndrome and other conditions.

Handguns

SB152 & HB 2491 permit a person with a concealed carry license to carry concealed handgun while lawfully hunting, fishing, or harvesting

HB 2278 Creates a penalty enhancement for the theft or burglary of a firearm valued at less than $25,000 to a severity level.

Also still in committee, S Sub for HB 2052 Concealed Carry Expansion allowing possession of firearm in certain public building, provided the individual holds a concealed carry permit.

SB 211 allows pharmacists to dispense prescribed drugs three months worth at time if not a controlled substance or a psychotherapeutic drug

Sexual Crimes & Other Crimes

Sub for SB159 Requires as condition of probation that the defendant be subject to search

SB 280 amends KS Sexual predator act to require the predator to be notify (1) of the nature and purpose of evaluation and 2) that the evaluation is not now confidential.

Sub for SB 307 Statute of limitations for sexually violent crimes when the victim is a child & adds a more speedy trail statutes

S Sub for Hb2034 Crimes of human trafficking, commercial sexual exploitation of a child, selling sexual relations,

HB 2151 amends “breach of privacy” to include any method that does or threatens a person nude or not, crime is now severity level 4, person felony.

HB 2227 Allowing for the issuance of arrest warrants based on DNA profiles

HB 2252 Eliminating the stature of limitations for prosecutions of rape and aggravated criminal sodomy

HB 2465 Authorizing sentencing court to order lifetime electronic monitoring for certain sex offenders.

HB 2534 ‘Caylee’s law’ criminalizes the failure to report the death or disappearance of a child

HB 2468 Requiring defense attorneys to produce reports and allow inspection prior to criminal trial

HB 2217 Creating the crime of female genital mutilation, and setting the penalty to severity level 3, a person felony

HB 2019 Court of appeals judges will now be appointment by governor & confirmation by the Senate. In pass they were appointed by a group of lawyers

Voting

SB 103 Elections, absentee voting by military and others; ballots. It allows overseas voters to vote a full ballot at all elections; apply for, receive and return their ballots by electronic means; and vote a write –in ballot, if needed

SB 125 Elections; candidate filing deadline change.

H Sub for SB129 Elections, voter photographic identification requirements: election date changes: voters registration records

HB 2067 Voter must photographic identification requirements to vote.

Protection of our rights

Sub SB79 Anti-Sharia law concerning protection of our rights as granted under the constitution. Protects us and our courts from any foreign juristic laws that does not follow the Constitution.

Taxes

H SUB for SB83 cuts taxes & save $10.5 million in FY2014 Gen Fund receipts

S sub HB 2117 Tax reduction for individuals to 3% or 4.9% 2013. Top two were 6.25% & 6.45% Increased standard deduction for single head of house- hold & joint married to $9,000, but several tax credits were repealed.

Sub 84 2014 & 2015 =Income tax 2.5% & 3.5% down .5% /1.4% 2013

SB 78 sales tax decrease from 6.3% to 6.15%

HB 2234 Contracted to combine the Ks Turnpike Authority and the KDOT in an effort to save some $30 million

Many higher # bills were used to combine several departments to save more money

Defund Common Core Curriculm – Act Now

Defund Common Core
Keep our education decisions local!
A Nationalized Curriculum is not good for Kansas!
 
It is critical that all of you, call and e-mail these listed below.  We must keep the pressure up not to accept a national curriculum for Kansas.  (links taken from Culture Shield Network and Donna Lippoldt)
 

PLEASE CALL & EMAIL THESE HOUSE AND SENATE LEADERS NOW!!!

SENATE LEADERS

Sen.  Steve Abrams

620-442-8804

sabrams@hit.net

Sen. Terry Bruce

888-224-0291

lawfirm@pixius.net

Sen. Jim Denning

913-345-9416

JDenning@Discovervision.com

Sen. Jeff King

620-331-9888

jeffkingks@hotmail.com

Sen. Garrett  Love

620-846-0223

garrett@loveforkansas.com

Sen. Julia Lynn

913-832-5311

julia@senatorjulialynn.com

Sen. Ty Masterson

316-733-7229

senatormasterson@gmail.com

Sen. Susan Wagle

316-733-5698

aly.rodee@senate.ks.gov

HOUSE LEADERS

     
     

Rep. Kyle Hoffman

620-582-2217

kyle@kylehoffman.net

Rep. Kasha Kelley

316-772-0513

kasha@kansasleadership.com

Rep. Peggy Mast

620-343-2465

mastpeggy@gmail.com

Rep. Ray Merrick

913-897-4014

merrickrf@sbcglobal.net

Rep. Marc Rhoades

316-284-9725

marcrhoades@cox.net

Rep. Gene Suellentrop

316-260-3663

gene@genesuellentrop.com

Rep. Jene Vickrey

913-837-2585

vickrey@jenevickrey.org

Rep. Brian Weber

620-253-0255

repweber@gmail.com

Kansas Can Stop Common Core

Topeka 912 encourages you to contact your Kansas legislators and ask them to defund and stop Common Core in Kansas.  This year’s session is almost over so It is important to call, email and write to voice opposition to implementing Common Core curriculum in Kansas schools.  A phone call is generally more effective than an email.  The following four legislators need to hear your opinion on why Common Core is a bad idea for Kansas, but contacting your Senator and Congressman (if they’re not two of these four) is also needed. Common Core is too expensive, too restrictive, and too invasive to be allowed into our State.

Representative Mark Rhodes

Representative Richard Carlson

Senator Steve Abrams

Senator Ty Masterson

Not familiar with Common Core? Check out these links.

What is Common Core?

The Whole Story on Common Core

Michelle Malkin On Common Core