Archive for Monday, April 24, 2006

Chief justice calls for investigation into Nuss

April 24, 2006


— Kansas Supreme Court Justice Kay McFarland today called for an investigation into what Justice Lawton Nuss said to two legislators about the school finance lawsuit.

"The public trust and confidence in the judiciary is vital to our system of government," McFarland said in a prepared statement.

She said the allegations against Nuss should be investigated by the Commission on Judicial Qualifications, a 14-member board that investigates alleged judicial misconduct and makes recommendations for discipline.

Ron Keefover, a spokesman for the court, said it was the first time in memory that a chief justice has sought a probe of another justice on the court.

Last week, it was disclosed that Nuss had lunch March 1 with Senate President Steve Morris, R-Hugoton, and Sen. Pete Brungardt, R-Salina.

At the lunch, Nuss discussed the school finance lawsuit, the most high profile pending case before the court.

When the matter was about to be made public, Nuss announced he would recuse himself from future dealings in the lawsuit.

But that has not satisfied some lawmakers who have said Nuss violated a basic tenet of law by talking with parties in a pending lawsuit outside the courtroom.

House Speaker Doug Mays, R-Topeka, has said he is considering a legisaltive investigation, and the attorney general's office has interviewed several legislators about what was said at the lunch.

If the Commission on Judicial Qualifications finds convincing evidence to support allegations, it can warn the judge, tell the judge to stop what he or she is doing, or recommend the state Supreme Court discipline the judge, which could range from public censure, suspenion or removal.


staff04 12 years ago

Don't forget:

"Resigned his position in shame in 2006 after it was learned that he advised litigants in a case he was scheduled to rule on..."

justthefacts 12 years ago


Justices of the supreme court may be removed from office by impeachment and conviction as prescribed in article 2 of this constitution. In addition to removal by impeachment and conviction, justices may be retired after appropriate hearing, upon certification to the governor, by the supreme court nominating commission that such justice is so incapacitated as to be unable to perform adequately his duties. Other judges shall be subject to retirement for incapacity, and to discipline, suspension and removal for cause by the supreme court after appropriate hearing.

FALLOON V. CLARK 58 P. 990, 61 Kan. 121 (Kan. 1899)

SYLLABUS A judge of the district court cannot be removed from office upon other grounds or by other methods than those prescribed by the constitution, namely, by impeachment for misdemeanor in office, or by joint resolution of both houses of the legislature, two-thirds of the members of each house concurring, as prescribed in section 15 of article 3 of the constitution.


SYNOPSIS An original proceeding in discipline was brought against associate district judge. The Supreme Court held that there was clear and convincing evidence to establish that judge violated the Code of Judicial Conduct by allowing or appearing to allow his personal views on the political issue of selection of judges to influence his judicial conduct or judgment, by purposefully attempting to be critical of actions of county attorney and his fellow judge by writing a memorandum decision in the way that he did, by purposefully making allegations of fact and stating as conclusions in such memorandum factual matters that were at the time being contested in two criminal cases, and by purposefully and intentionally trying to get such statements publicized by delivering a copy of such memorandum to the news media; such conduct warrants removal from office. Removal ordered.

fletch 12 years ago

Judge Nuss is of of the best judges we have in the state. If we start removing judges who talk to state legislators, we wouldn't have anybody left on the bench.

lunacydetector 12 years ago

if it was someone talking to some democrats, the democrats would say that it is okay because everybody does it.

yourworstnightmare 12 years ago

Judges should know better than to discuss cases such as this with legislators or executives. Maybe it is not illegal, but it certainly throws suspicion upon the independence of the judiciary. It might not be an ethical lapse, but it is certainly a lapse in decorum.

Keep your eye on Justice Scalia of the Supreme Court. He has a habit of crossing boundaries of decorum (and possibly ethics) of the judiciary.

Scalia is after all a right-wing liberal of the reddest stripe.

yourworstnightmare 12 years ago

lunacycreator said: "if it was someone talking to some democrats, the democrats would say that it is okay because everybody does it."

What, are you in third grade? Yours is not an argument; it is a childish grudge that has no basis in reality but instead assumes the motives of participants in a situation that did not happen. Ridiculous.

Baille 12 years ago

You would blame the puppet AND the master? :)

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