Archive for Friday, January 22, 2010

Abortion foes aim to oust justice on Kansas court

January 22, 2010, 10:20 a.m. Updated January 22, 2010, 5:11 p.m.


— An anti-abortion group launched a campaign Friday to oust at least one Kansas Supreme Court justice in this year’s election because of how the court has handled cases on the issue.

Kansans for Life will campaign against Justice Carol Beier and may expand its efforts to other justices, Executive Director Mary Kay Culp told The Associated Press. Abortion opponents are especially upset with Beier because of majority opinions she wrote in 2006 and 2008 cases.

Culp later announced the campaign during a rally of about 1,000 abortion opponents outside the Supreme Court’s building on Friday, the 37th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion. “One of the biggest problems is in the building behind me, the Kansas Supreme Court,” Culp told the crowd. “‘Fire Beier’ is our rallying cry.”

Kansas Supreme Court justices are appointed by the governor but must ask voters every six years to keep them on the bench. Beier and three other justices — a majority of the seven members — are on the ballot Nov. 2.

Organized campaigns against Supreme Court justices have been rare since Kansas abandoned partisan elections for the court in 1960. Since then, no justice has failed to win retention with less than two-thirds of the vote.

Responding to criticism from abortion foes, court spokesman Ron Keefover said: “I can tell you firsthand, based on 30 years of observation, that the court’s decisions have always been based on the constitution and on the governing statutes and regulations.”

Rep. Marti Crow, a Leavenworth Democrat and an attorney who supports abortion rights, saw the effort as a “vendetta” against Beier.

“It hurts the independence of the justice system, which is very key to everybody’s rights,” she said.

Culp said Kansans for Life plans to mail 150,000 postcards before the election noting its opposition to Beier, as well as endorsements of candidates for other races. It may also run radio ads opposing Beier or other justices, she said.

On the ballot with Beier are Justices Dan Biles, Marla Luckert and Lawton Nuss. Beier has served on the court since September 2003 and was retained by voters in 2004, with more than 76 percent voting “yes.”

Beier, Biles, Luckert and Justice Eric Rosen were appointed to the high court by former Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, a Democrat who supported abortion rights. A nominating commission screens applications and names three finalists, but the governor’s choice isn’t subject to Senate confirmation, as other major appointees are.

Sebelius helped recruit Paul Morrison, an abortion-rights Democrat who unseated Phill Kline, an anti-abortion Republican, as attorney general in 2006. The two majority opinions written by Beier in abortion cases deal with issues arising from Kline’s investigation of abortion providers, first as attorney general and later as Johnson County district attorney.

Abortion opponents are upset that the Supreme Court has not ruled on legal issues surrounding a criminal case Kline filed in 2007 as Johnson County district attorney against a Planned Parenthood clinic in Overland Park, keeping the case from going to trial.

But they’ve long singled out Beier because her opinions in 2006 and 2008 strongly criticized Kline.

In a December 2008 ruling, she said Kline “exhibits little, if any, respect” for the court or the rule of law. The court’s 5-2 majority sent its opinion to the official who investigates allegations of misconduct against attorneys, and Kline now faces an ethics complaint.

Dissenters in that ruling said they were troubled by the majority opinion’s comments about Kline. Then-Chief Justice Kay McFarland wrote that the comments were designed to threaten and “heap scorn” upon Kline and were inappropriate.

“We think the people of Kansas deserve to know before they vote the extent of the unprofessional, prejudiced attitude of Judge Beier,” Culp told the AP.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Tim Owens, an Overland Park Republican who has supported restrictions on abortion, said he thinks Beier has done a good job as a justice and that “overall, our Supreme Court does a good job.”


Mike Cohen 8 years, 5 months ago

What a waste of public money...too bad they can't just go to sentencing...

stuckinthemiddle 8 years, 5 months ago

the entirety of Hell is reserved for those who would condemn others to Hell...

and that’s a fact, jack…

Randall Uhrich 8 years, 5 months ago

Suspected?!?!? Roeder was not only witnessed murdering Tiller, but he confessed to committing the murder. I SUSPECT he's very very guilty, and should spend the rest of his life in solitary confinement. No parole!!!

Evan Ridenour 8 years, 5 months ago

Whoever wrote this article... FYI, he isn't suspected of killing Tiller. He is known to have killed Tiller. The question at issue is whether he committed a crime by doing so.

You could write... The man suspected of murdering Tiller... that would work. Killing doesn't.

Where are the editors for this "newspaper".......

Leslie Swearingen 8 years, 5 months ago

The thing of it is that Roeder really believed in his mind that he was doing the right thing, that he was saving the lives of countless babies. It is this iron certainty that will enable this kind of thing to happen again. And, there is not a dammed thing that anyone can do about it. If you don't like the law, then work to change it, but in the mean time obey it? I broke the law many times in the Civil Rights struggles as did others. What about that? Rosa Parks became a heroine for breaking the law. I agree that it is not the same thing at all as walking into a church and murdering someone. Unfortunately, not in the minds of someone like Roeder.

Liberty275 8 years, 5 months ago

too bad they can't just go to sentencing…

Yeah, its too bad we can't just sentence everyone that is accused of anything.

MeAndFannieLou 8 years, 5 months ago

I wonder if Roeder would think that I would be justified in mowing down some anti-choice protesters in order to save some doctors' lives...

anon1958 8 years, 5 months ago

alishag (Anonymous) says…

George Tiller is in a very special part of hell….

Would that be the part where Jerry Fallwell is and near the rooms reserved for Pat Robertson and Fred Phelps? Or is it the wing of hell where most of the Catholic Popes are being held and tortured?

Amy Heeter 8 years, 5 months ago

ComradeRedRooster (Anonymous) says… "I sure hope they find him guilty of Manslaughter and give him three trimesters probation."

He has already serve 2 trimesters, so they should just grant him time served for the children served.

Jersey_Girl 8 years, 5 months ago

I just love you "pro-lifers" who think what Roeder did is not only acceptable but was justified. Very pro-life of you. Like it or not, what Tiller did was legal, what Roeder did was not.

Tom McCune 8 years, 5 months ago


Adolf Hitler really believed in his mind that he was doing the right thing. Does that mitigate his crimes? Does his "sincere but unreasonable belief" in the rightness of his actions reduce his responsibility?

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