TOPEKA 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.
Justice Lawton Nuss
More about Justice Lawton Nuss
- Nuss gets off with warning over school finance talk
- Nuss talks turn political
- Communication between governor's office and Kansas judicial branch (.pdf)
- Code of judicial conduct (.pdf)
- Rules relating to judicial conduct(.pdf)
- Justice Nuss' response to the allegations (.pdf)
- KSGovernor.org: Sebelius responds to wide-ranging open records requests
- Justice Lawton Nuss biography, from Kansas Supreme Court web site
- KSCourts.org: Recusal Statement
- School Finance Proposed Expenditures Comparison (.pdf)
- 6News video: Nuss controversy ends with questionable punishment
- 6News video: Nuss meeting descends to bickering
- 6News video: Committee begins interviews in Nuss affair (06-08-06)
- 6News video: Committee begins investigation into Nuss affair (05-25-06)
- 6News video: Kansas lawmakers determine school finance plan (05-02-06)
- House panel votes to expand Nuss probe (06-09-06)
- Senator from Lawrence declines to testify for now (06-09-06)
- Senator denies court contact before Nuss lunch (06-08-06)
- Nuss says he regrets meeting (06-02-06)
- Supreme Court justices at a glance (08-20-04)
- More about the 'Nuss Fuss'
- More about the school finance case
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.