Archive for Sunday, September 1, 2013

Stegall urged ‘forcible resistance’ to Schiavo court ruling that removed life support

September 1, 2013


— In 2005, Caleb Stegall, who Gov. Sam Brownback has nominated to the Kansas Court of Appeals, encouraged "forcible resistance" to try to save the life of Terri Schiavo, the brain-damaged Florida woman who had been at the center of a national debate over the right to die.

After the courts ordered removal of Terri Schiavo's life support, Stegall — an attorney who was then editor of The New Pantagruel, an online Christian magazine — and his colleagues at the magazine issued an editorial statement:

"It now appears that all legal recourse to save Terri’s life has failed. As Terri’s family and millions of people know, the State is wrong. There is a higher law. If last-ditch efforts in the Florida Legislature and the United States Congress also fail, and the administration of Governor Jeb Bush fails in its duty to uphold the higher law, those closest to Terri—her family, friends, and members of their communities of care—are morally free to contemplate and take extra-legal action as they deem it necessary to save Terri’s life, up to and including forcible resistance to the State’s coercive and unjust implementation of Terri’s death by starvation," the statement said.

Stegall, 41, has been thrust into the political spotlight as Brownback's first pick for the state Court of Appeals under a new law that removed a nominating commission from the selection process.

Brownback's office has declined to let the press ask questions of Stegall. A request for comment from the governor's office regarding the Schiavo statement was not immediately answered.

Stegall has submitted hundreds of pages of documents about himself to Brownback's office and a Senate committee that will hold a hearing Tuesday on his nomination.

The submitted information shows Stegall as a conservative, Christian, abortion opponent and an outspoken critic of liberalism and what he sees as the increasing influence of modern culture. The statement about Schiavo, who died about two weeks after it was published, was not included in those documents.

The information that Stegall submitted in support of his nomination includes a wide variety of background material underscoring his conservative philosophy, including a 2004 article in the New York Times that wrote about Stegall as part of a group of new thinkers who were trying to redefine the conservative movement. Over the years, Stegall has outlined his conservative views in a variety of other statements and actions, as well.

In 2008, when he was running for Jefferson County attorney, Stegall was general counsel for Americans for Prosperity, which advocates for cuts in taxes and government spending, and he served on the executive committee for Audubon of Kansas.

On the issue of abortion, Stegall said during a 2008 online chat with the Lawrence Journal-World, "I am pro-life and politically a federalist." Of the U.S. Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion, he said, "On legal grounds, I believe Roe v Wade to be a weak decision and believe that the matter is best left to state control."

His nomination submission also includes a 54-page analysis critical of the school finance decision by the Kansas Supreme Court that forced the Legislature to increase funding to schools. Stegall wrote the analysis for the Kansas Policy Institute, a group often critical of public school funding. He concluded that Kansas needed to pass a constitutional amendment that put the Legislature in charge of determining what suitable funding of schools should be.

"Regardless of the specific constitutional proposals, it is incumbent upon the Legislature to address the matter constitutionally, as until that point the taxpayers of the state will be held hostage by a powerful special interest with constitutional carte blanche to spend with virtually no limit," he said.

In the spring of 2009, Stegall gave the commencement address to Veritas Christian School.

Stegall urged the students to try to experience truth and goodness wherever they find themselves and to resist the temptations of the world.

"Oh, they will tell you that their marches for progress and rights are daring, and that they are radical.

"Or they will tell you that their religious revivals are conservative, that they are the moral center.

"You will hear it all, but the truth is that for the most part, people are in the grips of a boring, lifeless ideology of personal fulfillment, choice and upward mobility. We live in a society of tourists, and if tourists have one thing in common it is this — that they are not at home."

Stegall told them of a personal story where he was representing former attorney general Phill Kline, who tried to prosecute clinics that provided abortions.

"At the crux of the case was whether laws restricting abortion could ever actually be enforced," Stegall said. He said arrayed against Kline "were the whole force of the abortion industry nationwide and virtually of the powers of the State Government," he said.

The proceedings were being followed on a national level. Stegall said he was up against eight or nine lawyers, some from New York "brought in to this troublesome little state in fly-over country to protect the abortion industry."

Stegall said he passed out his business card with a Perry, Kansas, address and "one of the big city lawyers turned to his colleague and said with more shock than condescension in his voice, 'Where the heck is Perry, Kansas?' Only he used more colorful language."

Stegall's appointment to the second highest court in Kansas has drawn fire from numerous critics for the process Brownback used.

Under a new law, which was pushed for by Brownback, Stegall and other conservative Republicans, the governor makes an appointment to the appeals court, subject to Senate confirmation. Under the former system, a nominating commission vetted and interviewed candidates and submitted three names for the governor to pick from. The names of those who applied were released to the public, but under the new system, Brownback has refused to divulge who applied for the vacancy.


Keith 4 years, 9 months ago

"Brownback's office has declined to let the press ask questions of Stegall. A request for comment from the governor's office regarding the Schiavo statement was not immediately answered."

If you needed proof that he is to be the governor's pet judge, here it is.

Grump 4 years, 9 months ago

Actually, it might be that Brownback is Stegall's pet governor.

Thomas Bryce Jr. 4 years, 9 months ago

A nominee for Appellate court Judge who believes it is OK to use, and encouraged the use of "Forcible Resistance" against Laws you personally Don't agree with. Not exactly the stance I would expect Any Judge to take. Does Mr. Stegall have any middle ground on any Subject? I have read as much as I can find about him and He seems to have a strict personal agenda. If it is perceived that his decisions are Politically motivated instead of based on Law, it will not go unnoticed or unchallenged. Good Luck Mr. Stegall.

Kathy Theis-Getto 4 years, 9 months ago

His views on the law are not surprising really. He is a proud Covenanter as evidenced by one of his interviews. This is what he thinks of the Constitution:

After the adoption of the United States Constitution, the denomination held the document (and therefore all governments beneath it) to be immoral, and participation in such a government to be likewise immoral, because the Constitution contained no recognition of Christ as the King of Nations.

There is no doubt in my mind what kind of judge he will be.

rtwngr 4 years, 9 months ago

He will be the kind of judge that respects life at all stages.

Paul Wilson 4 years, 9 months ago

Until it's some leftie legislating from the bench...then it's called "progressive".

Liberty275 4 years, 9 months ago

"A nominee for Appellate court Judge who believes it is OK to use, and encouraged the use of "Forcible Resistance" against Laws you personally Don't agree with."

I would tend to think he believes it's OK to use forcible resistance to whatever law he doesn't agree with.

Kathy Theis-Getto 4 years, 9 months ago

You go right ahead and use that forcible resistance, Liberty. Let me know how that works out for 'ya. LOL

Liberty275 4 years, 9 months ago

I'm actually a lot better at passive aggression. If your ideas require "force", your ideas are defective. Also, I think you got a little turned around.

Thomas Bryce Jr. 4 years, 9 months ago

Agreed , Liberty275. that is how it sounded to me, also. Wonder how he would react to "Forcible resistance" to Laws, Decisions and Policies He and This Current Administration here in Kansas supports? I would bet his tune would change Quickly. Is this what some Posters were Describing earlier as "A la Carte Law"? Obeying what you agree with and disregarding what you don't?

jafs 4 years, 9 months ago

Any libertarian communes that you know of?

Seems to me that libertarianism, by it's very nature, doesn't offer enough in the way of communal decision making, and so can't really be applied well to communities.

It would be an interesting experiment, though.

jimmyjms 4 years, 9 months ago

You have an interesting relationship with capitalization.

Thomas Bryce Jr. 4 years, 9 months ago

I know it is not considered proper writing. Since this is Blogging, it goes more in line with train of thought speaking. The caps are simply inflections on my perceived importance of the word in the sentence that you would normally be able to hear if I were speaking to you. I do know that all caps is like yelling. I do stay away from that.

weeslicket 4 years, 9 months ago

many examples from the column and comments to show why public vetting of candidates is actually helpful.

racerx 4 years, 9 months ago

"Stegall said he passed out his business card with a Perry, Kansas, address and "one of the big city lawyers turned to his colleague and said with more shock than condescension in his voice, 'Where the heck is Perry, Kansas?' Only he used more colorful language."

A hee-larious anecdote, my friend, Caleb. Them big city-slicker lawyers in their fancy suits and Eye-talian leather shoes don't know where Perry, Kansas, is. Ain't that just typical!

Tell me Caleb, can ya' tell me where Plainfield, NY is? It has roughly the same population as Perry, KS. How many of us down to Earth good ol' folk in Kansas know "Where the heck Plainfield, New York is?"

Thomas Bryce Jr. 4 years, 9 months ago

Agreed, racerx." So, um, Mr. Stegall, sir? Is that a chip on your shoulder or are you hauling firewood for winter?"

dabbindan 4 years, 9 months ago

well, since most reasonable citizens of this country will agree that both the left and the right offer valuable contributions to the political and governing process in this country, a judge that is "an outspoken critic of liberalism" would be unwise to put on the bench.

it certainly would make a liberal who comes before him wonder if they could get justice....and as i last recall, we are all entitled to justice, whatever our political stripe.

yourworstnightmare 4 years, 9 months ago

Now we are getting glimpses of what Brownback is trying to hide.

Stegall states clearly that it is alright, even moral, to take extra legal action, including force, against laws with which one doesn't agree because of religious beliefs.

Stegall has like-minded compatriots in the fundamentalist islamic world including the Taliban.

question4u 4 years, 9 months ago

Stegall: "You will hear it all, but the truth is that for the most part, people are in the grips of a boring, lifeless ideology of personal fulfillment, choice and upward mobility."

Welcome to Brownbackistan, the only place on earth where "personal fulfillment, choice and upward mobility" are bad.

chootspa 4 years, 9 months ago

Also an example of hypocrisy. He made a choice to apply to Brownback for a promotion in an area that he likely thinks will be personally fulfilling. He can humblebrag all he wants about quitting the big law firm, but his work record makes it quite clear that he had a strategy in mind when he did so.

chicago95 4 years, 9 months ago

Compliments to Mr. Rothschild for a well-researched story.

homechanger 4 years, 9 months ago

This from the nominee:
The overwhelming moral sense I have when surveying the modern world is one of loss. A sense that what we have left behind in our affluence and mobility is a certain kind of Good that flourishes in rootedness and struggle—a way of being human that was always understood as the good life; a kind of self-provisioning that took place within a small network of interconnected social obligations, each to the other and all to a particular place, and to the customs and rites that naturally complimented that place. The spiritual order—both personal and social—of this good life is nourished on a veneration of children, work, craft, a sense of honor in commitments, and a common responsibility.

In place of this, modernity has given us the atomized individual, armed with a plethora of rights, making his way in a system of "opportunity" that requires the spiritual symbolization of society as a ladder to be climbed, which leaves a wake of personal disorder, the destruction of exploited people, places, and traditional communities, and loss of meaning on a massive scale.

Jean Robart 4 years, 9 months ago

I wish I hadn't voted in the last gubernatorial election as I did vote. But I couldn't handle the person running against him. This proves that the lesser of two evils is still evil.

Jonathan Becker 4 years, 9 months ago

Given that the votes are in line at the State Senate, the next stop for Mr. Stegall is a retention vote in four years. What are you going to do then?

Thomas Bryce Jr. 4 years, 9 months ago

I will Vote against his retention in four years if it turns out our fears about what kind of Judge Mr. Stegall will be are Proven correct. He has to be confirmed and then Make it through four years first, though. Good Luck again Mr. Stegall. If you are confirmed, it will, then, be your Position to lose, Sir.

Michael LoBurgio 4 years, 9 months ago

Kansans For Fair Courts

Sam #Brownback's plan to politicize the Kansas judicial branch is dangerous to us all, but here is a good look at how it impacts Kansas women in particular. Kansans deserve a fair and impartial court system - it is a key tenet of our democracy. We had the votes to block the Brownback plan during the 2013 #ksleg session, but we must remain vigilant about this in 2014. Please share this video and help spread the word. Paul Davis

rtwngr 4 years, 9 months ago

Oh, and Sebelius never politicized the bench? Please. Hypocrisy infinitum.

JayhawkFan1985 4 years, 9 months ago

When did Sebelius criticize the judiciary? Saying it doesn't make it so.

Michael LoBurgio 4 years, 9 months ago

Brownbacks Judge choice part of quest to control state govt

Judge choice part of quest to control state government.

Gov. Sam Brownback's choice for an open appellate court position was no surprise.

As expected, the governor nominated his chief counsel, Caleb Stegall, for a spot on the state's second highest court, the Kansas Court of Appeals.

It was just another predictable maneuver from an ultraconservative GOP administration intent on controlling every facet of state government.

Thanks to the support of the billionaire Koch brothers, whose efforts helped erase a moderate Republican influence in the Kansas Legislature that had provided some resistance, Brownback and his allies received an easier path to control of the judiciary and all branches of state government they sought as a way to forward an extreme ideology without checks and balances.

Michael LoBurgio 4 years, 9 months ago

As GOP knows, the rules matter

The attack on Kansas’ judicial system is troubling. After all, the state’s courts, according to a national Chamber of Commerce study, ranked fifth in the nation on fairness to business in 2012.

This didn’t matter to the governor and the Legislature. They wanted Stegall and, more importantly, they wanted to permanently alter the rules to their benefit.

As the legendary (if felonious) Illinois Rep. Dan Rostenkowski once declared, “If you let me write procedure, and I let you write substance, I’ll screw you every time.”

In other words, structuring the rules determines the outcome.

Thus, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach looks at the already overwhelmingly Republican electorate and decides it’s not red enough. So he uses alleged voter fraud to propose registration rules to restrict ballot access for the poor, the young, the elderly and those, such as Hispanics, who are disproportionately unlikely to vote.

rtwngr 4 years, 9 months ago

Oh well, elections have consequences. Apparently the left wing of Lawrence is apoplectic regarding the way things are being run at the State House. Too bad. I didn't hear you crying when Sebelius made all of her left wing radical appointments. I didn't hear anyone say a word about the tons of money she received from George Tiller in Wichita. Her court appointees were so far to the left they made Sol Alinsky look like John Wayne.

Jonathan Becker 4 years, 9 months ago

The man's name was Saul Alinsky, and please identify with some specificity which left wing appointments Sebelius made to the Court of Appeals?

In order to get more minorities employed at O'Hare Airport, Saul Alinsky simply threatened to have protesters line up at the urinals of O'Hare during the busiest arrival times. Richard Dailey immediately sat down and hammered out an agreement. And rtwngr considers that terrible?

Bob Forer 4 years, 9 months ago

Funny that you should disparage Saul Alinsky, as the right wing has adopted his organized tactics for their programs.

Bob Forer 4 years, 9 months ago

His comments are enough to disqualify him from the bench, but with the right wing in control, he will probably be confirmed. They don't seem to give a damn about the rule of law if it involves one of their own.

If you don't believe in the rule of law, you don't deserve to be an American, and you certainly should not be serving in any branch of government.

It is amazing how the right wing is quick to toss out fundamental rules and concepts of American Democracy.

JayhawkFan1985 4 years, 9 months ago

Sebelius didn't make any radical appointments. Radical as an adjective always used to describe policies on the right.

rtwngr 4 years, 9 months ago

No they're not. If anything they're sitting out in western Kansas, laughing at you and the rest of the left wing have seizures over the moves Gov. Brownback has made. I say good for him and too bad for you.

JayhawkFan1985 4 years, 9 months ago

Rtwngr, you need to find a rush Limbaugh blog. If you hate lawrence so much, why poison our newspaper's blog with your bile? You must be a closet liberal. You'll come around, hopefully it will be before brownbackward cause Armageddon in Kansas.

SRWilson 4 years, 9 months ago

In order to get Stegall behind the bench, Brownback had to take a procedure that was open for all to see, and cloaked it in the utmost of secrecy and utterings of "No Comment." Brownback knew if he made his choices known and allowed them to come up for review, they would never see the light of day. Instead Brownback's cherry picked gets installed, and the citizens who are Brownback's employers only find out about it after the fact.

Sadly this behavior does not surprise me given their behavior in other states. On the subject of abortion this is very telling. In North Carolina, a very restrictive abortion bill was passed by the state legislature. The citizens only learned about it after it was revealed the bill was concealed in a bill on motorcycle safety.

In Texas the picture was a lot more "In Your Face." When their bill came up before the legislature, one lone wolf Wendy Davis successfully filibustered the measure. She spoke for 11 hours. Without eating. Without sitting. Without a bathroom break. Eleven hours. When the time to vote on the bill expired, the Republicans put up on the website that the measure had passed, despite the filibuster. When this was exposed in the media the record was changed to tell the truth, but not before thousands of screenshots of the fakery was saved. In spite of the heroics of Davis, Governor Perry shoved through another version of the bill at the 11th hour, which was of course passed by the Republican majority.

One would think that after they were handed their crushing defeat in 2012, members of the Republican party would have been repentant and at least a little more humble. Instead they have behaved like spoiled brats who, when told to stand in the corner, instead jump up and down and scream at you that you're being unfair and mean. It's long past time they get sent to their room with no TV, video games or internet.

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