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Archive for Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Stegall wins Senate confirmation to Kansas Court of Appeals

September 4, 2013

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— In an historic vote after a contentious debate, the Kansas Senate on Wednesday confirmed Gov. Sam Brownback's nomination of his chief counsel, Caleb Stegall, to the Kansas Court of Appeals.

The approval of Stegall for the state's second-highest court represented the first nomination under a new judicial selection system that was pushed for by Brownback, Stegall and conservative Republicans who dominate the Legislature.

Stegall, 41, was confirmed on a partisan vote of 32-8.

Stegall, a former Jefferson County prosecutor, was praised by supporters as a top-notch and fair-minded lawyer who would apply the law impartially. They pointed out that Stegall had received glowing letters of support from both Republicans and Democrats.

But detractors came from two camps — those who said they feared Stegall's conservative ideology would taint his judicial decisions, and those who complained that Brownback's selection was shrouded in secrecy and politicized the judiciary.

In 2005, as editor of an online magazine, Stegall encouraged "forcible resistance" to a court order to remove the life support from Terri Schiavo, a Florida woman who was the center of a national debate on the right to die. In the article, Stegall referred to a "higher law" to protect Schiavo.

State Sen. Tom Holland, D-Baldwin City, said Stegall had "publicly advocated for mob rule based on a higher law."

But Senate Majority Leader Terry Bruce, R-Hutchinson, said Stegall had defended his comment, saying that it represented the theory of civil disobedience.

During his testimony Tuesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Stegall said as a judge he would follow the law as written in statutes.

Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka, criticized the way Stegall was nominated by Brownback.

"The process was so secret and the public was not allowed in," Hensley said.

Under the new process, the governor appoints judges to the Kansas Court of Appeals with confirmation from the Senate. Brownback declined to divulge who else applied for the job.

Under the former system, a nominating commission interviewed candidates and submitted three potential nominees to the governor, who would pick one. The names of all applicants were made public.

But state Sen. Ralph Ostmeyer, R-Grinnell, said he was tired of the governor "being raked over the coals." Ostmeyer said Stegall "is a great guy," adding, "I'm disappointed that we drag someone through the gutter, such a good person."

Comments

kansas_cynic 7 months, 1 week ago

His confirmation was bought and paid for by the Kochs. Just check who got what "campaign" contributions from them or their campaign "groups?. AKA Americans for Prosperity tax exempt bribery group..

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avarom 7 months, 1 week ago

Here's an example of all the 501 (3) c's just in Lawrence alone there are 665 non profits.....makes you wonder if the Foxes are watching the Hen House.............http://501c3lookup.org/Results

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avarom 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Religion and Politics are like Oil and Water, they just don't make a good mix and never will!! The only reason religion is heavily involved in politics is because religious organizations donate to the campaigns of political leaders and they in turn push the religious agenda to keep receiving their financing. It is reprehensible that what is best for these leaders’ constituents is below those of their campaign contributors. And politicians need to learn to leave their personal beliefs at home. Not one politician in this country can say all of their constituents are of the same religious affiliation. Therefore, they should not allow their religious practices and beliefs to follow them into the Capitol building.

There will always be a debate about the extent to which religion should influence law, but the reality is that religious influence does more harm than good. Religious divides are creating political ones that are dangerous, especially now when the country needs to come together to resolve its current issues. Religion is based on faith; Law is based on fact. Legislation becomes blurred when the two are mixed. To me, politics and religion is like a marriage between Ayn Rand and Mother Teresa! Yikes!!

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jkl1939 7 months, 2 weeks ago

What is wrong with lawyers recommending candidates for the appellate court? Who knows them better than their peers? Would you want grocery clerks picking plumbers? Would you want a plumber picking your doctor? The system was not broken. It was just a system that Sam could not control.

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oldbaldguy 7 months, 2 weeks ago

He is qualified for the job. This what you get with the new system. Only time will tell.

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Cait McKnelly 7 months, 2 weeks ago

In my best Jim Nabors voice: "Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!"

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yourworstnightmare 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Stegall will bring a refreshing jolt of ideology and putting religious beliefs above the law that we desperately need. It's about time that christians in kansas have a voice in the judicial system that puts faith above law. Amen!

3

kansas_cynic 7 months, 2 weeks ago

And the Legislators are probably already catching you-know-what from the Koch's for not approving him within 24 hours. No excuse for that, they already had their orders.

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oneeye_wilbur 7 months, 2 weeks ago

But in a short year most will not remember and certainly if a poll were taken west of Wichita , most wouldn't even know who Stegall is and likewise the same if a poll were taken in Lawrence and the question was: How do you remember John Stavros?

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Curveball 7 months, 2 weeks ago

As I understand it, under the old process a group of private lawyers picked the nominee for the judgeship. I think it was the Kansas Bar Association or some similar organization. The Democrats never did seem to have a problem with any of Kathleen's picks. Have you ever noticed that when the liberals don't get their way the first thing they do is run to a friendly judge to get something overturned or declared "Uncontitutional." Unconstitutional usually means the judge doesn't like the previous outcome. Under the old system it looks like the lawyers were able to stack the deck when it came time for their appeals or other court proceedings. Think about it, a private organization with a large role in the justice system. Conflict of interest? Oh, i'm Shocked!

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mikekt 7 months, 2 weeks ago

This guy is not qualified for the job having never been a judge before where his record could be checked against a trail of known decisions and facts .

How long do you think that it will take the Re-Publicans, to change their new nominating law, if a Democrat takes the governors office and gets a chance to screw up their handy work, in the next election ?

This is pretty much just a lie being shoved down the Kansas voters throats !

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EveryMan 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Caleb Stegall will be an outstanding addition to the Kansas Court of Appeals. It's about time we have a prosecutor at the appellate level.

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