Nuss admonished, but not disciplined

? Kansas Supreme Court Justice Lawton Nuss was admonished today by a disciplinary board, but escaped any further sanction for his discussion of school finance with two powerful legislators.

It is the first time in Kansas history that a state Supreme Court judge has been found in violation of the judicial ethics rules.

The Commission on Judicial Qualifications said Nuss violated three Canons of Judicial Conduct when he spoke with Sens. Steve Morris, R-Hugoton, and Pete Brungardt, R-Salina, about a school finance bill while school finance litigation was still pending before the court.

In its commentary, the commission said Nuss’ meeting on March 1 “resulted in the appearance of impropriety which undermines public confidence in the judiciary …”

Without comment, however, the commission decided against recommending that the Supreme Court consider disciplinary action against Nuss.

The commission’s action amounts to a warning to Nuss not to violate the judicial code again.