Kelly reappoints Lawrence attorney to different opening on Kansas Court of Appeals

Governor highlights 'alarming trend' in state's COVID-19 numbers

photo by: Associated Press

Carl Folsom III was appointed to the Kansas Court of Appeals by Gov. Laura Kelly Monday, Aug. 24, 2020 at the Statehouse. in Topeka. (Evert Nelson/The Capital-Journal via AP)

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly has again submitted the application of a Lawrence resident to the Kansas Court of Appeals, two months after the Kansas Senate rejected his nomination for a different open seat on the bench.

In June, members of the Kansas Senate rejected the appointment of Carl Folsom, an assistant federal public defender in Topeka and adjunct law professor at the University of Kansas, to serve on the Kansas Court of Appeals. The justification among Senate Republicans was that Folsom once represented someone accused of possessing child pornography. However, public defenders by nature do not choose their clients, and at the time, Kelly openly voiced her displeasure with the Senate’s lack of understanding of Folsom’s job duties.

After Folsom’s first nomination to replace retiring Judge G. Joseph Pierron was rejected, a second vacancy opened on the court with the retirement of Judge Steve Leben, who took a teaching position at the UMKC School of Law. So Kelly said Monday that after another thorough vetting of candidates, she was again submitting Folsom for the Senate’s approval.

“He is without a doubt the person most qualified for the job,” Kelly said in a press conference Monday.

In a separate news release from Kelly’s office, Folsom said he was honored to again have Kelly’s support to serve on the court.

“I am honored and humbled that Governor Kelly has confidence in my ability to serve the people of Kansas as a judge on the Kansas Court of Appeals,” he said in the release. “I am looking forward to continuing Judge Leben’s commitment to procedural fairness, to ensure a transparent process where all litigants are given a voice, and are treated fairly, evenly, and with dignity and respect.”

Also on Monday, Kelly gave her weekly update on the state’s COVID-19 status. Since Friday, the state confirmed an additional 1,545 cases of the respiratory virus, bringing the state’s cumulative total to 38,401. Kansas also confirmed seven additional deaths attributed to COVID-19, which has now claimed the lives of 426 people in the state since the pandemic began in March.

“We had a bad weekend,” Kelly said. “In these moments, it can be easy to become desensitized by the numbers as they continue to grow. But our positive infection rate this weekend continues an alarming trend in the wrong direction for Kansas.”

Kelly also pointed out that colleges and universities in the state have started fall classes, which has already resulted in six confirmed outbreaks at higher education institutions, which she didn’t name.

The University of Kansas began in-person instruction Monday, and Kelly specifically pointed out that as of last Thursday, 89 people on KU’s campus had tested positive for COVID-19, and among those, 87 were students. One student at a Kansas college, Kelly said, has also been hospitalized with Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome, a novel syndrome associated with COVID-19.

“Please let this serve as a reminder: let’s take the threat of COVID-19 seriously,” Kelly said.


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