Archive for Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Judge harshly criticizes Kobach during contempt hearing

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach speaks during a news conference Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015, in Topeka.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach speaks during a news conference Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015, in Topeka.

March 20, 2018, 1:59 p.m. Updated March 20, 2018, 3:20 p.m.


— A visibly angry federal judge blasted Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach on Tuesday for his office's failure to ensure that certain voters are notified that they are eligible to vote in the upcoming election while a lawsuit over a state voting law makes its way through the courts.

U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson criticized Kobach during a hearing on a motion from The American Civil Liberties Union to hold Kobach in contempt of court for not updating the state's election guide or ensuring that county election officials send postcards to residents who registered to vote at driver licensing offices without providing proof of citizenship. Tuesday's hearing came after seven days of testimony in the ACLU's challenge of the state's voter registration law.

Kobach, a conservative Republican who is running for Kansas governor, argued he is not in contempt in part because sending the postcards and revisions in the state's election guide were not explicitly addressed in a preliminary injunction Robinson issued in May 2016 and a later written order. The injunction found that Kansas can't require voters to produce proof of U.S. citizenship, such as a birth certificate or U.S. passport, when they register at licensing offices.

Robinson said several times during the hearing that her ruling made it clear the voters covered by her injunction were not to be treated differently from other registered voters. She also said Kobach had assured her in telephone hearings that he had instructed his office to order county election officials to mail the postcards to all voters covered by her order.

"Why would I order something in writing that you've told me is being taken care of?" Robinson asked Kobach. "(As an officer of the court) you are under an ethical obligation to tell me the truth. If you tell me you are going to do that, I trust that."

Kobach insisted his office had tried in good faith to comply with the judge's orders. He said he had told the state's director of elections, Brian Caskey, to ensure that county election officials followed the judge's instructions. Caskey testified that he sent written instructions to county officials about the judge's order but acknowledged the instructions did not include any discussion about the postcards. He said he had verbally discussed the postcards with county officials several times but had not sent written instructions that the postcards should be sent.

The secretary of state's office has no authority to order county officials to follow directions from his office, Kobach told the judge.

"We ask them to do things," Kobach said. "We plead with them to do things. But sometimes we are frustrated."

The ACLU also wants Kobach to correct erroneous and misleading information in the state's official election manual to make clear that, for now, those voters are exempt from the state's proof-of-citizenship requirements. Rather than correcting information in the online election manual, Kobach removed it from the secretary of state's website.

Kobach said he took the manual offline because Caskey intended to update it. He said he deferred to Caskey to decide when the changes would be made but the revisions would take several months.

"Isn't one of the advantages of having the manual online is that they can be modified quickly?" said Robinson, who later added it was a "ridiculous system" to take so long to change a few sentences in the manual.

Robinson did not indicate when she would issue a ruling on the contempt motion.

Kobach was held in contempt of court last year for misleading the court about the contents of documents he was photographed taking into a November meeting with then President-elect Donald Trump. The court fined Kobach $1,000 and ordered him to testify about the documents.

Earlier in the case, contempt proceedings against him that had been scheduled before the 2016 election were halted after Kobach agreed to allow thousands of voters to cast traditional ballots, rather than force them to use provisional ones.


Brett McCabe 2 months ago

Why is Kris so weird? I mean....the guy is a Strange Ranger. And he went to Harvard. Someone in admissions has some 'spainin to do.

If he loses the Governor's race, he should build an "Ag" building in east Lawrence and join the ELNA. Maybe Weinaug will split a duplex with him.

Bob Gent 2 months ago

He went to Yale and Oxford, too, as I've been told. I've also been told that his conservative views weren't warmly welcomed at any of those places, and his current extremism is a result of having felt bullied and ostracised in those formative years. People are also saying he still sleeps with a blow up doll and sucks his thumb, but that's beside the point in the current discussion

Ken Lassman 2 months ago

Nice, Bob,

I see that you're adopting the Trump-Kobach protocol of saying anything in order to stay in the limelight. Not a bad effort; all you need to do to put icing on the cake is to come up with some vague idea that scratches an itch that we didn't know we had, either because upon closer examination it means nothing, or appeals to our fears, or preferably both. Maybe: "Make Kansas Great Again?" or "Kobach: SOS to Kansas Governor?" Anyway, you get the idea....

Aaron McGrogor 2 months ago

How does anything Bob said "appeal to our fears"?

Greg Cooper 2 months ago

Fears that there are more out there like him?

Michael Kort 2 months ago

LIars LIE,......Cheaters CHEAT,........and those who people associate with ( who are known tricksters and frauds ) tells volumes about their habits,......KOBACH,.....TRUMP'S ADMIRER IN CHIEF...................CON------Servative ! ! !

Gee, I bet that the dog ate his homework,.. too ?

Hitler considered himself to be under appreciated ( and ostracized ) in art school......but then he really wasn't a Da Vinci,...... nor is Kobach a great lawyer, as his handy work keeps getting thrown out in courts across the country .

I wonder if Kobach feels bullied by the courts all across the country ?........or is just another disingenuous Con-----Servative, who fails to paint a good enough picture to fool others as to his motives and goals, who is putting on an act because he wants control who gets the right to vote ( or not vote ) in Kansas and Federal Elections held in Ks ..

Carol Bowen 2 months ago

From Kobach's perspective, he's run up against a biased judge. He will not change, because he does not think he is wrong.

Scott Burkhart 2 months ago

From my perspective he has run up against a biased judge.

Ken Lassman 2 months ago

OK, I did. She threw out an ACLU attempt to overturn a Kansas law that prohibits private insurance from paying for abortion procedures. She froze assets of government scam artists. She let the head of Westar, David Wittig, out of prison. So backing right-to-lifers legislation, letting off a corporate big boy and freezing assets of scam artists doesn't sound very liberal to me. Furthermore, how did she get nominated? George W. Bush nominated her on the recommendation of Sam Brownback.

You haven't made much of a case, guys.

Sam Crow 2 months ago

You have chosen literally less than a handful of cases out her nearly two decade career as a District Court judge.

The fact that Bush appointed her is not relevant. He made many many mistakes.

Greg Cooper 2 months ago

OK, give us the "past rulings" that override the ones cited, the ones you asked for. Otherwise, well, you know.

Sam Crow 2 months ago

You liberals are simply using Wiki for your informaion.

A simple LexisNexis search will show you all her past rulings.

Do you own research.

Ken Lassman 1 month, 4 weeks ago

I did and I still stand by my conclusion, Sam. You are the one who needs to defend your own assertion, not me.

Greg Cooper 1 month, 4 weeks ago

I did, too, and agree completely. So, Sam, cite the rulings that make her such a "liberal".

Steve Hicks 2 months ago

Gee, Scott, do you think it's wise, or gives people high respect for your opinions, to admit you think the same way Kobach does ?

Bob Summers 2 months ago

The fantasies the congenital Liberal create are amusing.

Their innate ability to create fantasies is why they own Hollywood.

It is too bad they give sanctuary and voting rights to MS-13.

Bob Summers 2 months ago

Why do people with the condition support sanctuary for MS-13?

I mean, in your mind under the influence of the Liberal gene, why do you give sanctuary to criminals and give them voting rights?

Ken Lassman 2 months ago

"your mind under the influence of the Liberal gene..."

I picture a guy with a Guy Fawkes mask on as the puppetmaster, making you jerk around on strings like the Scarecrow in Wizard of Oz, with a long, scary laugh track. How do you see the "Liberal gene" working to influence people's minds, Bob?

Aaron McGrogor 2 months ago

Dude, who? Who is going out and advocating for sanctuary for members of MS-13 specifically?

Richard Neuschafer 2 months ago

Maybe Bob should actually READ the study on those with the so-called "Liberal" and "Conservative" genes. It's not what he thinks it is.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 2 months ago

And again, Bob, are all hispanics members of MS-13. Doesn't it get tiring being a simplistic racist? I guess it makes life easier to just put everyone in into categories, doesn't it.

Sam Crow 2 months ago

It is obvious that because of his vastly more elite education, Dr. Kobach thinks at a much higher level than does Julie Robinson.

Steve Hicks 2 months ago


Good one, Sam !!

...or do you really BELIEVE that ?!?

Sam Crow 2 months ago

Kobach got his undergraduate degree from Harvard.

Masters and PhD from Oxford. You know, the incredibly exclusive one in England.

Then on to Yale for his Juris Doctorate.

Then becoming a law professor.

It is undeniable. Even by you liberals.

Greg Cooper 2 months ago

And an advanced degree makes one a complete human? Really? So, you and I, who do not have those degrees, are less than complete and are not eligible to vote on the better candidate? Logic 101 apparently escaped your study.

Steve Hicks 2 months ago

Well, if that's really your criteria for who you support, no doubt you voted for Hilary ?

(It's a rhetorical question, Sam: we all knew you were talking BS so you could strike a bogus political pose...not because you really believed it.)

Michael Kort 2 months ago

P.H.D.............PILE IT HIGH PILE IT DEEP........truthfully,........the description of " Moral Sophomore " is a much better fit as a title for KOBACH .

Steve Hicks 2 months ago

Amen, Greg. Nobody who lives in this town, and pays attention, can believe that advanced degrees mean someone is a good, or honest, person. Education is not a moral measurement.

In Kobach' case, his degrees just prove he's too smart to believe the lies he tells. But he doesn't have to, if enough fools will. He undoubtedly has a high opinion of the people who believe his BS, and vote for him.. LOL.

Saying things you don't believe is hypocrisy. That probably describes most low-level "conservative" dupes. But their power to deceive is limited to themselves...and they do so, endlessly.

But saying things you're too smart to actually believe, to lead masses of people astray, that's "sophistry." In honor of Kobach' degree from that university, I offer the definition of "sophistry" found in The Oxford Dictionary: "The use of clever but false arguments, especially with the intention of deceiving."

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 2 months ago

He will keep doing outrageous things to keep his name in the news. And like his buddy Trump, he doesn't think much of his supporters. He's not worried that they will be bothered by his wasting tax dollars or his anti-demcrocy stances.

“I think the only maybe indirect effect might be that people just see that I’m defending our proof-of-citizenship law against the ACLU and are reminded of that fact,” he told reporters. “Some people do follow judicial proceedings pretty closely, but I think most people probably don’t.”

So he's counting on the uninformed voters who will just vote for him, because he has an R net to his name? That's the Republican way. That's how a Nazi is running in Illinois. The big difference is it's in a strong Democrat area, so the Nazi has no chance of winning.

Sam Crow 2 months ago

You Alinskyites follow the rules perfectly.

Just here you have used rules 2, 5, 11, and 13.

You must be proud.

Ken Lassman 1 month, 4 weeks ago

Believe it or not, Sam, some of us think and act according to our experience, logic, compassion and conscience. We learned to do that in school, religious institutions, family and friends and as such don't need a manual to follow in lockstep like you imagine us doing.

Steve Hicks 2 months ago

Gee, Sam, I guess I'm not really a very good "Alinskyite"...I have no idea what the rules are you're talking about.

But if you're happy knowing them so well you can refer to them by know it always makes us all happy, to see you happy.

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