Archive for Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Brownback appoints his chief counsel, Caleb Stegall, to the Kansas Court of Appeals

August 20, 2013


Gov. Sam Brownback announced his nomination of attorney Caleb Stegall to fill the 14th seat on the Kansas Court of Appeals on Aug. 20, 2013.

Gov. Sam Brownback announced his nomination of attorney Caleb Stegall to fill the 14th seat on the Kansas Court of Appeals on Aug. 20, 2013.

Related document

Caleb Stegall nomination packet ( .PDF )

— Gov. Sam Brownback on Tuesday appointed his chief counsel, Caleb Stegall, to the Kansas Court of Appeals, a year after Stegall was passed over twice for other appeals court slots by a judicial nominating commission.

Brownback said Stegall, if confirmed by the Senate, “will be one of the most, if not the most qualified person to go on the Kansas Court of Appeals over the past several decades.”

Stegall, 41, a Lawrence native who now lives in southeast Jefferson County, has been chief counsel to Brownback since January 2011, was Jefferson County Attorney for two years and founded and owned a law firm. He has been in the middle of several high-profile political cases, including at one point representing former Attorney General Phill Kline.

Democrats, who had objected to changing the judicial selection process and had warned about the consequences of a less-public process, decried the appointment as cronyism.

“The Kansas judiciary should be a pillar of independence and transparency, not a parking lot for Governor Brownback’s well-connected, partisan pals,” said House Minority Leader Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, who is considering a run against Brownback in 2014.

Brownback’s nomination of Stegall is the first under a new law that gives him the authority to make a selection subject to confirmation by the Senate.

Stegall was passed over twice last year for positions on the appeals court under the former law in which a nominating commission screened applicants and forwarded a list of three potential

nominees to the governor.

In the recently concluded legislative session, Brownback and his conservative allies passed the new law.

In addition to the partisan rancor from that fight, the selection process became more controversial when Brownback refused to divulge the names of those applying for the vacancy on the state’s second highest court. In the past, the nominating commission released the names of those applying, its final recommendation, and had even opened up to the public its interview process.

At the news conference, Brownback refused to allow Stegall to answer questions from the media, also a departure from past practice.

Stegall did, however, make some comments after Brownback’s announcement.

“I want to note and give a special thanks to many of my colleagues,” he said. “Many of them are Democrats and these colleagues are those who may have had and do have good faith disagreements on the matter of how we select our judiciary in Kansas. Nonetheless, they have endorsed my nomination to this position because they know my record.”

He mentioned former attorney general Steve Six and several other Democrats who wrote in his favor.

Among the letters of recommendation for Stegall was one from Lawrence City Manager David Corliss, who praised Stegall for his work representing Family Promises, a non-profit that helps the homeless. Stegall helped the city “improve its regulations on homeless shelters to reflect certain public concerns,” Corliss said.

Stegall has wide

range of experience

Stegall’s legal experience has featured a wide range of cases. Stegall prosecuted a murder case and other major crimes as the lead prosecutor in Jefferson County from 2009 to 2011. Stegall received his law degree from Kansas University in 1999. He is married and has five children.

In 2010, he helped defend a group of Topeka missionaries in Haiti who had been charged with kidnapping and child trafficking during the aftermath of the earthquake there. Working for no pay, he helped get the charges dismissed.

Stegall represented Kline in a legal dispute with a Planned Parenthood clinic in Overland Park over Kline’s attempts to pursue criminal charges that the clinic performed illegal abortions and falsified reports about some procedures to the state, which it denied. Stegall also initially represented Kline in professional disciplinary proceedings stemming from his investigations of abortion providers.

Critical of school

finance ruling

In 2009, Stegall, writing a lengthy analysis for the Kansas Policy Institute, was highly critical of the 2005 Kansas Supreme Court decision that led to increased funding for schools.

He said the ruling was a cause of the state’s budget crises then and “a symptom of the deeper pattern of reckless spending and disregard for fundamental principles of republican forms of self-government that has taken hold of both Kansas lawmakers and judges in the past decade.”

Asked how Stegall could ensure that he would be impartial in issues, such as school finance, Brownback said Stegall will take his oath seriously “to impartially determine the law.”

Next up: confirmation hearings

Stegall will now appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee, whose chairman, state Sen. Jeff King, R-Independence, has enlisted the assistance of three prominent legal scholars — Deanell Tacha, Stephen McAllister and Reggie Robinson — to draft a six-page questionnaire for the nominee.

Tacha is former chief judge of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and now dean of the law school at Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif. McAllister, the state’s solicitor general, is a professor and former dean at the Kansas University law school. Robinson is a former president of the Kansas Board of Regents and director of the Center for Law and Government at the Washburn University law school in Topeka.

Two of the three — Tacha and McAllister — wrote letters of recommendation on behalf of Stegall’s nomination to the bench.

Stegall’s confirmation will be up before the Senate during the special legislative session that starts Sept. 3.

Brownback called the special session to address a U.S. Supreme Court decision that raised questions about a Kansas law that allows some convicted murderers to be sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 50 years.

Some Democrats have said the upcoming special session will give legislators little time to examine Stegall’s record.


sciencegeek 4 years, 10 months ago

The fact that Steagall couldn't cut the mustard under independent scrutiny, and everyone knew he'd be nominated despite that, and the delay of the sham "interview" process until just before the rubber-stamp legislature comes back, is just another act in the same play--Brownback Thumbs His Nose at Kansas.

The unlimited, disgusting gall of the man.

tails01 4 years, 10 months ago

bahahahaha "independent scrutiny".

what world do you think you live in? There are no interview processes or appointments that are neutral, independent, or unbiased in politics. It's one side vetting their man or the other side vetting his.

leaningleftist 4 years, 10 months ago

Yes it's called checks and balances. Something our guv should look into

trinity 4 years, 10 months ago

Sigh. I wish we could just stop this nonsense that Fabulous Sam is perpetrating on our State! This is a wince-some appointment. x_x

Patricia Davis 4 years, 10 months ago

We don't have time to sigh. It's time to gear up and just say no to another 4 years of Sam.

trinity 4 years, 10 months ago

I could not agree more oxy. I'm a very willing participant!

tails01 4 years, 10 months ago

"In the recently concluded legislative session, Brownback and his conservative allies passed a law that gave Brownback the power to appoint judges to the court with Senate confirmation."

This makes it sound like Brownback changed the law. He didn't. Kansas is just the most recent state to adopt (with bipartisan support) the new Federal system of judges, where the Gov. nominates and the Senate passes/vetoes.

This appointment will get a lot of attention because it's the first appointment under this new system.

The comments here mostly ridiculous. Labels of "fascism" or "bought by the Koch brothers" are neither true nor helpful. You make the far right look good.

Cheryl Nelsen 4 years, 10 months ago

Those comments to which tails01 refer may not be helpful, but they are true. If you do not think the Koch brothers had a hand in this, you are quite naive.

Richard Smith 4 years, 10 months ago

How do you know that the Koch brothers had a hand in this? Is it any real evidence to simply assert that a person is naive if they don't know this? Assumptions passed off as facts and then defended by saying that others are naive if they don't agree does not a sound argument make.

chootspa 4 years, 10 months ago

The Kochs funded multiple organizations Stegall worked for and gave Brownback campaign donations. Surely even a pro-Brownback person such as yourself could see that there is at least the appearance of conflict of interest, if not outright influence peddling. While it was expressed indelicately, the commenters reflect a suspicion that isn't unfounded.

So do you genuinely think there's no connection between the Koch's political desires and the selection of this particular lawyer without any judicial experience for an appeals court, or are you just pretending to be naive to gain sympathy for your argument and keep us engaged?

Matt Schwartz 4 years, 10 months ago

....'reflect certain public concerns.' nice quote.

leaningleftist 4 years, 10 months ago

Well he didn't change the law, he changed the appointment process. And if you think labels like fascism and bought by the Koch brothers look good, I guess we know what side of the fence your on. I don't think I'd want want to be associated with either. And of course his first appointment is his chief counsel, well really did you expect anything less. He's a joke, unfortunately the jokes on us. And I'm curious what other states have adopted the same policies, my guess is they are red states. Politics bought and paid for.

Richard Smith 4 years, 10 months ago

But again, what evidence do you have for our Governor being only interested in the best interest of the Koch's and their kind? Perhaps your level of cynicism is blinding you to some things and allowing you to jump to unwarranted conclusions? How is the Governor destroying Kansas? Were you cynical about those who write that without any real evidence other than they disagree with the man?

leaningleftist 4 years, 10 months ago

Well for one his position on defunding education. His income tax policy that directly effects the middle class. His turning down of ACA, which we citizens pay a federal tax for but will not have the option of accessing. His instruction for doctors to lie to patients about the effects of abortion. His insistence to keep the sales tax as is even though that was supposed to be temporary. Defunding of the arts, forcing college students to pay more so he can cut dollars to state campuses. Most of the policies he has enacted are on the back of the less fortunate and mostly benefit his rich donors. Changing how judges are selected so he can hand pick his own chief counsel who has an agenda against most of things just listed. Also due to his income tax cuts many local municipalities are forced to raise property taxes and cut other vital services that directly effect the less fortunate. That's all I can come up with off the top of my head, basically he hates Kansans who don't make a certain amount money or think like he does.

Richard Smith 4 years, 10 months ago

Is he for defunding education as in taking all the funding away or does he want to fund it differently? By the way, the economy might have something to do with this. Does he really want doctors to lie to patients about the effects of abortion, or is it that you disagree what those effects are? Clearly the state had to cut back at some place, so you disagree with one place where he did that, the arts. Is it so wrong to think that this could be funded by private donations? Right or wrong, is it really so bad to think that it should be?

With the economy the way it is and less tax dollars coming in, cuts had to happen. You can disagree about whether some of that should have been for colleges, but surely it is not evil to think in that direction. Are you so sure that all of his so-called rich donors are benefited by these things? Does the process of how judges are selected really give the Governor an opportunity to hand pick people? It seems as if going before the State Senate might make this even harder to hand pick people. I think that your charges of him hating Kansans who don't make a certain amount of money are rather harsh and unfounded. It seems that you disagree with his views and appear to hate him because he does not think like you do.

chootspa 4 years, 10 months ago

That's quite the gish gallop, so let's focus on one of those things, shall we?

"Does he really want doctors to lie to patients about the effects of abortion, or is it that you disagree what those effects are? "

Scientists disagree with what he thinks the effects of abortions, are, so is he scientifically illiterate, ignorant, or just blinded by ideology and unable to process opposing viewpoints? None of those options seem like good attributes in a judge or politician.

Wait - there is one more thing to address.

Ironically, you next talk about the state needing to cut back on funding, while you previously defended a practice (mandating unscientific statements on abortion) that lost the state taxpayer money in lawsuits. So does the argument for fiscal responsibility only apply for school and arts funding, does religious ideology override it, and how exactly does it apply when the actions result in a greater loss of funding through federal matching grants?

question4u 4 years, 10 months ago

"In 2009, Stegall, writing an analysis for the Kansas Policy Institute, was highly critical of the 2005 Kansas Supreme Court decision that led to increased funding for schools."

Does anything else need to be said? Kansas has become a bona fide third-world state in which justice has no place. Brownback is a monstrous blight on democracy, but he didn't seize his power in a coup. Do Kansans really hate American values this much?

chootspa 4 years, 10 months ago

The quote sums up precisely why Brownback wanted him and precisely why he is the worst choice. He wants to make sure the state can defund schools as rapidly as possible. Check and mate.

I don't think Kansans hate American values that much. I just think the average Kansan isn't paying attention to the big picture and never realized how radical the people they voted for were. Maybe there's enough time to get some oppositional research on this guy.

Richard Smith 4 years, 10 months ago

But does that mean that Stegall is against increased funding for schools or simply against the legal rationale for they Kansas Supreme Court decision? Yes, a lot of other things need to be said. So you give one quote that has a lot of context and say that justice has no place here. Interesting, just perhaps justice means more than just letting you get what you want. Brownback is a monstrous blight on democracy? Well, just remember that we are a Republic. By the way, what are American values and are you really the one that determines those?

chootspa 4 years, 10 months ago

Read his other publicly accessible writing and his work history. It's fairly safe to say that he's for school privatization at a minimum, and that's just another method of school defunding. I think you already knew that and were familiar with the man, or else you wouldn't have broken your nearly year long hiatus to come on and post rapid-fire in defense of his appointment.

cowboy 4 years, 10 months ago

Heavenly Sky god help us all. Stegall's claim to fame , minus any bench experience , is as an uber right wing ambulance chaser i.e. Phil Kline , abortion litigation and representing the Kansas coal fired plants . A well read religious fanatic he has coined many a complex web of literary gospels that should make anyone born after the 1700's shudder. Read some of this hyperbole.

It is obvious that the resumes were laid out left to right based on intolerance and extreme views and Brother Sam just said give me the one on the right.

This is both scary and pathetic .

Richard Smith 4 years, 10 months ago

What is both scary and pathetic are your unfounded accusations. An uber right wing ambulance chaser? Oh please. It sounds like he has represented people you hate, though of course our rule of law says that we all have a right to counsel. Are all lawyeres scary and pathetic for representing people you disagree with? Is Stegall really a religious fanatic? I guess you have plenty of solid evidence to show us what a religious fanatic is and that Stegall is one of those.

nick_s 4 years, 10 months ago

He is a religious fanatic. Just click on one of the two links in my post directly below.

Richard Smith 4 years, 10 months ago

I am not sure how those two articles demonstrate that the man is a religious fanatic. Are you sure you posted the right two?

nick_s 4 years, 10 months ago

I mentioned one of the two, not both good sir. You seem intelligent, im sure you could surmise which one I was referring to.

Websters College Dictionary: Fanatic 1. A person with an extreme or uncritical enthusiasm or zeal, as in religion or politics.

Throw the word "Religious" in front of the word & that describes this man to a T. Im just stating my opinion, but anybody who takes the time to start a religious magazine, & speak freely about transforming society into what his view of a society should be like, more or less a Christian Utopia, is a fanatic.

Id venture to say that anybody who takes the time to start a publication steeped in religious themes, & visions of religious grandeur is going to have more extreme views regarding religion than the average person. According to the all-knowing internet it is stated that no true & accepted definition exists for "Religious Fanatic", nor does it in my Websters College dictionary. However, one can use their own reasoning to define fanatic & then decide what a person who was a fanatic regarding religious topics was, & that is this man.

He has an extreme & uncritical enthusiasm for Christianity, which by definition is a fanatic. Not once do I hear him admonish the church or have any criticisms. He doesn't question religion, but calls upon a return to religious values to replace the "liberal" society he mentions that is ruining the country in his opinion.

My take is that he views the church & his god as all knowing & he has no room in his mind to see it any other way. That is not somebody who should be serving in a court of law in a country who strives to separate church & state. He is free to believe what he wants, but I don't want him to have the opportunity to thrust his extreme views on me, & that is exactly what Brownback is handing this man.

lubee 4 years, 10 months ago

Actually, our "rule of law" says that we have a right to counsel if criminally accused. Any lawyer who chooses to represent an individual or corporation in a civil case does so of his own volition, not as a participant in due process.

James Nelson 4 years, 10 months ago

ANYONE, like Sam Brownback, who believes he has a mandate to ride roughshod over those lawful citizens who have honest disagreements with him deserve to start having pain and difficulty everywhere they turn. I don't know exactly what it will take for the average Kansan to realize the dangers he offers.

I am tired and growing just plain mad at his and his hypocritical friends forcing their ultra-conservative opinions down my throat. There is plenty of room in Kansas for divergent, lawful viewpoints but that's not good enough for Sam. YOU THINK MY WAY OR YOU DO NOT THINK AT ALL. This is the kind of stuff that creates revolutions. The U.S, Constitution is at risk in Kansas.

Is there anyone in Kansas who believes a pro-choice appellant will get a fair shake from this guy? In your dreams. This is not the kind of judge I would want for any kind of trial. Anyone who has already pre-judged any case is not a fair judge.

Something is wrong with a system that will allow someone that has never served as a judge at any level to become a member of an appeals court. My God, only seasoned judges should get these nods. Sam's gain is all of Kansas' loss.

jafs 4 years, 10 months ago

"Brownback refused to allow Stegall to take questions from the media".

How exactly does this square with promises to make the process "more transparent", and why wouldn't he let him take questions?

Thomas Bryce Jr. 4 years, 10 months ago

That just shows who wears the Collar and who has the Leash.

overthemoon 4 years, 10 months ago

And why does he always have that smirk on his face...the one that says 'Tough luck, I'm making the rules now and I don't care what you think'?

Richard Smith 4 years, 10 months ago

Perhaps he is simply attempting to give a smile and it ends up being a painful smile and you are making a huge leap to the conclusion that it says what you think it says. Just because you may think that is what it is does not mean that is what it is.

chootspa 4 years, 10 months ago

Do you have any personal experience with his expressions you'd like to share with us?

Richard Smith 4 years, 10 months ago

Why is it that answering questions from the "media" would make this more transparent? Do people want the media to be bipartisan as well?

leaningleftist 4 years, 10 months ago

Well he will be making decisions that effect lives, and since he is the first "nominee" we should all be able to see what his view points are so we don't get cronyism involved in the judicial system. If he has a record, which he does, then why not answer questions to see what type of judge he will be. But it's pretty clear to me what kind of judge he will turn out to be.

Richard Smith 4 years, 10 months ago

I am not sure how a few questions from most likely a hostile media would prevent cronyism. I would like to have heard him answer questions as well, but without knowing for sure why this was not done it is hard to be overly critical. I don't think any answers to questions from the media would have changed any minds on this issue. Apart from having foreknowledge or being a prophet of some kind, it might be hard to be sure what kind of judge he will turn out to be. People change and their views change over time and with experiences, but it is also true that people can view others with certain dispositions and assumptions that may not be correct.

chootspa 4 years, 10 months ago

Knowing that one would face questions from a presumably hostile media might prevent politicians from engaging in obvious cronyism. There is an election next year. Perhaps the governor choosing to avoid questioning and shove this selection through under a conveniently called special session is an effort to avoid media scrutiny for an unpopular and unwise selection. Do you believe candidates and their choices should be accurately and honestly scrutinized by the media?

jafs 4 years, 10 months ago

Discussing one's views and responding to questions is almost the very definition of "transparent", while not doing so is the opposite of it.

This administration seems to prefer secrecy in many ways.

ElwoodTSuggins 4 years, 10 months ago

No matter which side of the issue you are on, understand why Kansas adopted the system of appointments to the Supreme Court in the late 1950's. Kansans were deeply offended by a suddenly resigning Governor Fred Hall getting himself appointed to the Supreme Court by his formerly lieutenant and now suddenly Governor McCuish. The sitting Chief Justice didn't want Governor elect Docking to appoint a Democrat to the court. So Smith resigned as Chief, Hall resigned as Governor, McCusih succeeded Hall and promptly appointed Hall to the Supreme Court. It was called the "Triple Play." The thought behind the constitutional amendment to appoint Kansas Supreme Court justices - whether you agree with it or not - was to reduce political influence in the selection process by having both lawyers and non-lawyers vetting applicants to reduce the pool to three for the governor's selection. See the wikipedia link.

Thomas Bryce Jr. 4 years, 10 months ago

Mr. Stegall, if you find in favor of The Legislature on subjects that have been previously ruled unconstitutional, You invite legal review and Scrutiny from other judges. If you don't find in favor of The Legislature, they may very well label you an "Activist judge" and do their best to remove you. "Damned if you do, Damned if you don't." Good luck in your new Position, sir.

LawrenceBuddy 4 years, 10 months ago

Judge Deanell Tacha, Former Chief Judge of the 10th Cir. Court of Appeals: “Mr. Stegall was my law clerk from August 2000-August 2001. He was outstanding in all respects. His remarkable intellectual ability combines with a very fine-tuned sense of the practical effects of the legal issues involved. He analyzes issues with precision and rigor. He was especially adept at writing with clarity and insightful understanding of the issues presented. Caleb Stegall is a very hard worker whose power of intellect and legal facility model the attributes that are so important to all judges.”

Shelley Bock 4 years, 10 months ago

I will always respect Judge Tacha. But, after reading Stegall's article (link stated above by a different commentator) regarding judicial qualifications, I would not respect him for his stated positions. Basically, he wants judges to be influenced by popular majorities, not what the law has potentially established over the centuries. I suppose every judicial panel needs a conservative thinker. I'm unconvinced that this appointee has the capacity to be that thinker, capable of thinking outside of satisfying a religious agenda.

LawrenceBuddy 4 years, 10 months ago

2nd Post:

Alan Streit, Chairman of the Kansas Bar Association Bench-Bar Committee:

“In my law practice and as chair of the KBA Bench-Bar Committee, I am in frequent communication with the leaders of the Kansas bar, including Judges of all levels throughout the State of Kansas. This experience has provided me the perspective to recognize that Mr. Stegall possesses the intellect, character, and judgment not found in many other lawyers in our profession. . . “As Chair of the KBA Bench-Bar Committee, I believe that Mr. Stegall is the ideal candidate to fill the role as Judge of the Kansas Court of Appeals. The Governor would serve the citizens of the State of Kansas and the members of the Kansas bar well in appointing Mr. Stegall as Judge of the Kansas Court of Appeals.”

John Yocum 4 years, 10 months ago

I look forward to seeing what Mr. Stegall can add to the Kansas mix. I've known him for over 15 years, and I have seen in him a good father, loving husband, a caring friend, and a leader. I hate when folks take their attitudes towards a particular person, such as Mr. B., and automatically dump it on another by association, such as Mr. Stegall. I am a Republican, but lean toward the middle and am not thrilled with Mr. B. at all. While I am a public school teacher and am very frustrated with having almost no budget for my classroom this year (talking under $100, folks, if any), I do not hold that against Mr. Stegall. I'm sure what he will do will be based on much research and multiple views. Give him a chance!

Stephanie Hull 4 years, 10 months ago

Wasn't Mr. Stegall a public school teacher before he went to law school?

justoneperson 4 years, 10 months ago

"I have seen in him a good father, loving husband, a caring friend, and a leader"

Okay, but what about that qualifies him to be on the KS Court of Appeals?

"I'm sure what he will do will be based on much research and multiple views"

Yes. He can cite himself and his own 'research' while at the KS Policy Institute....

jafs 4 years, 10 months ago

As a public school teacher, you don't find it problematic that Stegall has come out against the KS SC decision establishing that KS has been underfunding public schools and requiring them to live up to their constitutional obligations to fund them adequately?

Richard Smith 4 years, 10 months ago

But could it be that his problem is a legal problem rather than one with funding in and of itself?

leaningleftist 4 years, 10 months ago

Yes it's a legal problem because they are legally bound to fund education. Point in fact they are breaking the law, and one of the conspirators will be the judge.

Richard Smith 4 years, 10 months ago

But who gets to determine what level of funding is adequate? The increasingly heavy at the top educational system? That is something like the fox being left to guard the hens.

hillsandtrees 4 years, 10 months ago

It was the legislature's own studies which set the appropriate level of funding. I believe the court was correct in saying that the legislature needed to fund what their own research determined was the required amount.

Richard Smith 4 years, 10 months ago

Did the legislature pass a law and prescribe a certain amount in that law? Is it the law that a state should spend beyond its means to keep a level of spending that is based on research? I would argue that even if they did, the Supreme Court has the job of stating or ruling on what is the law and does not have the authority to make sure that the law is carried out.

chootspa 4 years, 10 months ago

The legislature has the power to cut funding in other areas or raise taxes. Nobody may like the resulting decisions, but it is within their power. Are you saying that the legislature gets to get out of their funding obligations if they're bad at math?

Richard Smith 4 years, 10 months ago

Thanks for the efforts, but it does not tell us an amount that a certain state should be required to spend and in fact if a Supreme Court of a state has the authority to order a certain amount.

chootspa 4 years, 10 months ago

You sound articulate enough on the issues to have already found the information you seek. The Kansas Supreme Court has the authority to determine whether or not the state is meeting their state constitutional obligations to their citizens.

jafs 4 years, 10 months ago

If so, he doesn't understand our system correctly.

The state has a constitutional obligation, and the SC exists to ensure the constitution isn't violated.

Anybody who has a "legal problem" with the way this has played out must not want our system to work as intended.

Also, of course, the folks who don't like the SC decision aren't offering to fund education at a higher level on their own - they tend to be the ones who want to keep underfunding it.

Rick Hird 4 years, 10 months ago

Saticon, you as a public school teacher should be throwing up right now. Stegall comes into his judicial office with a publicly declared predisposition on school funding. The right wing has an agenda to dismantle public education, which will lead to a caste system. Whether you believe that or not, Stegall is simply not impartial. For Brownback to get the legislature to change the law so he could appoint his henchman is repulsive. Shame on him and shame on all Kansans who support such political gamesmanship. Welcome to Brownbackistan.

Richard Smith 4 years, 10 months ago

Does he give a predisposition on school funding or simply on how the Supreme Court ruled on it? So the right wing wants to dismantle public education? That is sheer nonsense. Has anyone ever really stated that? Perhaps some want to change things about it, but that is not the same thing as dismantling it.

You make an absolute statement about Stegall that he is not impartial. Do you really want someone that is impartial or are you wanting someone to take your views? Have you read Stegall's views or are you simply jumping to the conclusions that others have provided for you? Are you really sure that the reason for the change of law was for Brownback to appoint his henchman? But again, accusations without evidence are all over this board, but so far it just appears that people are pouring out their feelings based on their own political views.

nick_s 4 years, 10 months ago

Refer to my post above. There are 2 links provided that were written, firsthand, by Caleb Stegall. Both articles, of which I presume were not the only ones the man has ever written, have what some would consider fanatic religious subject matters, as well as his own views on the court system that some would also find reprehensible. While I agree that people need to make up their own mind based on facts, Id say the word from the horses mouth is a pretty darn good source for someone to base their opinion.

Richard Smith 4 years, 10 months ago

Perhaps some would consider those as fanatical on religious matters, but then others would argue that those people are as fanatical against religion. Regardless of what some say and some find reprehensible, I think it is hard to argue from those writings that he is fanatical about religion. It might also be helpful to know what standard is being used to determine what a religious fanatic is. If the standard is that some think so, then that is a standard that can be used to determine anything.

chootspa 4 years, 10 months ago

The standard of mainstream cultural values is usually a good measuring rod for whether or not someone expresses "excessive zeal." Not that it matters; the assessment is still subjective, and it's probably safe to assume one of the reasons you are "unconvinced" is because you do not find his beliefs to be particularly radical.

Rick Hird 4 years, 10 months ago

I hope Corliss wrote his letter of support on a personal basis and not on City of Lawrence letterhead. If not, he should be called on the carpet.

overthemoon 4 years, 10 months ago

Ok folks. Check out what's happening in North Carolina. The people there are rising up and saying NO WAY to the incredible attacks on personal and civic freedoms that are being passed like shotgun blasts at the State and Local levels. Thousands protesting. Can we get more than a crowd of a hundred or two to march on Topeka and say enough is enough??

Regrettably, I think that we may not be able to. There's a lot still wrong with Kansas.

If you'd like to voice your opinion:

volunteer 4 years, 10 months ago

Ask the folks in Jefferson County what they think of him. Seems like when he was county attorney there, he was constantly whining to the county commissioners about how his budget was woefully inadequate for that hotbed of crime...Jefferson County.

Richard Smith 4 years, 10 months ago

What is the difference between whining to the commissioners and asking for more funding? You might want to check on a few facts about how much crime is in Jefferson County. Some think of it as a hotbed for meth labs and of other positive things like that.

chootspa 4 years, 10 months ago

So you're saying that sometimes government funding is necessary, even when the economy may be facing a setback?

Rational_Kansan 4 years, 10 months ago

Given Stegall's background, work experience and obvious partisanship, no one can realistically expect him to be nonpartisan. It is clear he will push his (and the very far-right's) agenda, which is not good for Kansas. He owes a lot of favors.

Richard Smith 4 years, 10 months ago

What does it mean to be nonpartisan in the area of the law? Do you just want him to be partisan on your side and push for your position? Are you so sure that his position is not good for Kansas or is it simply that you don't like what you perceive his position to be? How do you know that he owes a lot of favors? Frankly, that sounds something less than a rational statement and more toward an emotional response without any evidence to support it. Even if he did owe favors to people, do you have any real and rational evidence to support your position (implied) that he would make judgments based on that? By the way, what is the far-right agenda? I keep hearing that phrase but no one seems to be able to give a clear definition or idea of it.

chootspa 4 years, 10 months ago

What does it mean to be biased in the area of being a judge? Are you sure that his position is good for the people of Kansas? Are you sure that you're not basing your defense on a personal bias?

Jonathan Becker 4 years, 10 months ago

The saving graces at the Court of Appeals are it takes two votes for a majority opinion and the Court of Appeals will not decide school funding.

If the governor thinks Steagall will be the most qualified, he has not been paying attention recent appointees.

jumpin_catfish 4 years, 10 months ago

Thankfully, we have Obama to protect us from that mean old Brownback. Right?

William Weissbeck 4 years, 10 months ago

I'm sure at age 41, he has the legal experience and possibly the knowledge. But there was a time when we valued age, because with age came wisdom. Both at the state and federal level it is a race to nominate and appoint the youngest attorneys in your camp to lifetime judgeships. The trick is what you can get away with in order to "stack the courts" for a generation plus. And why is it that the nominees are those who have already taken stands on the "hot bottom" legal issues of the day. Phil Kline, Planned Parenthood and school funding all in one nominee - how convenient.

Richard Smith 4 years, 10 months ago

It is interesting how so many people are jumping to conclusions and the very partisanship they say they hate they are actually practicing. If one dislikes Brownback, then so be it, but that is no reason to fire away at a man he has appointed for a post. Could it be that he has legal issues for what he stated against the Kansas Supreme Court in funding the shools and actually is not against funding the schools? Could it be that there really are legal and medical issues that are problematic with Planned Parenthood? Why is it that if Stegall has issued statements on those things that they automatically make him a bad choice? If a potential appointee had issued statements on thiose issues that you were in agreement with, does that automatically make the person a good choice? As usual, at least in our day, it appears that a firestorm erupts around a person that people think will not be bipartisan, but of course that is really silly since what they want is someone who will only agree with them.

leaningleftist 4 years, 10 months ago

They could be, but it's no secret what this clan is about. Just go and look at Americans for prosperity and one can come to any conclusion they want to privatize education, strip women of their rights, among many of their sinister plans to strip Americans of their constitutional rights.

Richard Smith 4 years, 10 months ago

It is one thing, however, to say that it is no secret what they are about and then it is quite another to make accusations against them based on deductions that you have made from their position rather than to state their intents. The attempt to privatize education is thought of by them as a way to make up for many failures within the public education system as it presently is. What do you mean to strip women of their rights? Are you primarily thinking of one right? When you use the word "sinister" it seems as if you think of them as very evil. Are they really evil plans to strip Americans of constitutional rights or an attempt to return to the Constitution?

leaningleftist 4 years, 10 months ago

Last time I checked roe v wade, as unpopular as it is in some circles, is still the law of the land, and women still have the right to make choices with their body. Kansas has essentially outlawed abortions by making them nearly imposible to have, even in cases of rape and incest. You are are correct that I believe they are sinister. Americans for prosperity is funded by the kochs, no secret their. It is their plan to away with such departments such as department of education, EPA, and I believe OSHA, all to further their agenda. Privatizing schools will leave poorer communities will lesser quality schools which I believe has occured in Florida and is currently happening in North Carolina. The kochs want these departments cut because they are the single largest polluters in the United States and of course want to strip workers of all their rights for their bottom dollar. It's before my time but I believe Charles Koch ran for libertarian Vice President in 1970 on this platform and was soundly defeated. Now Americans for prosperity funded by the kochs are doing exactly what he failed to do. All these in my book equate to being sinister by the very definition of the word. We have rights as employees, and citizens that are being marginalized by this entity all for the benefit of an elite few.

Richard Smith 4 years, 10 months ago

While Roe v Wade is the law of the land, that is a different issue than it being a right granted in the Constitution. Women do have the right to make choices with their bodies, but their rights are limited in many other areas as well. They don't have the right to use their mouths to scream "fire" in a crowded building just to watch the result. They don't have the right to use their bodies to run into people and cause harm. So maybe the real issue is not over the right to make choices with their own bodies.

The argument about doing away with the department of education is so that there will be more money for education and better education. The argument about EPA is that without stifling and needless laws the economy will be better off. As far as OSHA, I have not heard of that one. Privatizing schools is thought of by many to give people a better education rather than leave it to the political folks to determine every detail. There are also differing ideas about what a quality education is, so you might have to be more specific on that one.

Your charges about the Kochs may or may not be true, but how do you really know that they are in charge of all this and want all of this simply for the purpose of making money? It is easy to make deductions and draw implications from what people say and for those deductions and implications to be unwarranted and inaccurate.

bad_dog 4 years, 10 months ago

"So maybe the real issue is not over the right to make choices with their own bodies."

No; the "real issue" is that women have the right to make certain legally established choices with their bodies. Not any and all choices you might cite as an attempt to distract; just the legal ones. But you already knew that, right?

How does doing away with the DOE increase money for and improve education? It eliminates the overhead associated with an agency, but will elimination of the agency actually improve education? Will the money saved be used to lower taxes overall? Will the money saved be used to better education (however objectively defined) or just shifted to another pet project?

It's always good to know the economy will improve in the absence of the EPA as our environment is left unattended so people and corporations can run businesses unfettered. Do what you want as long as the economy gets better and the $$ keeps rolling in. Foul your nest & move west... No one will ever pollute the Hudson or Cuyahoga rivers again, dump PCBs in Times River, MO or over fish Nature's capacity. Worker's won't need OSHA's oversight as many businesses will relish the new laissez-faire atmosphere you advocate and will voluntarily lavish safety and equipment upgrades upon their workers. We can just pencil in that good corporate behavior, right? Might as well get rid of the Departments of Insurance and all other regulatory agencies in the name of cutting costs because we know from history the businesses they oversee will just do the right thing in the absence of legal compulsion and penalties.

"Privatizing schools is thought of by many to give people a better education rather than leave it to the political folks to determine every detail." Got anyone authoritative to cite to for that proposition? And how many of the "many" you refer to don't have an iron of some sort in the fire? Let's also not forget the "political folks" you seem to prefer be distanced are the same types attempting to determine many educational issues in this state whether it be funding adequacy, curriculum, university budgets, witholding from teacher's salaries...

"There are also differing ideas about what a quality education is..."

Really?. I would have believed there are rather strict guidelines as to what constitutes a quality education. You know, like attaining/maintaining certain minimum standards and achievements. I wonder what an institution such as the AAU would think about a concept as divergent as yours.

leaningleftist 4 years, 10 months ago

I just lost my entire response when I tried to copy the link for David Koch and ALEC so I'll respond to your comment from the bottom up with less detail. They are in charge, David and Charles Koch are the largest donors for Americans for prosperity and ALEC Manyof Kansas legislature just attended an ALEC conference in Chicago. What is happening in kansas is happening all over the country as far as defending public education among other things. The kochs are some of the biggest polluters in the US, and alot of the departments and policies they want changed directly benefit them, ie EPA being dissolved. I concede that abortion isn't a right from the constitution but federal law does trump state law and abortions are essentially next to near to have in kansas even in cases of rape and incest. It was upheld in roe v wade that women have that right and it is being denied on a state level here and in other states. May pro lifers believe that is a moral sin to have one thus the separation of church and state isn't being recognized. And finally education, anytime you privatize that there is no need for core standards, ex I don't think religion is right to have being taught in lue of science,. You shouldn't have the bible replacing evolution and private donors get to influence the ciriculum and religion will be taught instead of evolution. It will be up to private donors to finance the school and if they aren't pleased then there go the funds. Teachers should be free to teach curriculum the way they see fit and not being worried about fired if they do toe the line of private donors. And this is happening already in college campuses. I have no problem with religion being taught in school as long as long as all religions are being taught and not making a part of science class.

chootspa 4 years, 10 months ago

Got to hand it to him. He sure is slick for trying to refocus the discussion onto what exactly rightwing ideology is (when it's clearly something he supports) and reframe dissenters as the villains not giving someone with pure motives a chance. It's a great damage control spin.

jafs 4 years, 10 months ago

The school funding issue is simple: The legislature has the constitutional obligation in KS to fund education at a "suitable" level. They did several studies to determine that level, and then failed to provide that level of funding.

The KS SC exists in order to ensure compliance with the state constitution, and ruled that the state was not living up to it's constitutional obligations.

The state ignored them, and continued to underfund the system.

Anybody who is against the state complying with the ruling misunderstands our constitutional system and the role of the SC in KS, in my opinion.

msezdsit 4 years, 10 months ago

This an open and shut case. The Kansas government is a private club. Members only

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