Summary of blogging on judicial ethics in Kansas


News accounts report that there will be an investigation into the lunch that Kansas Supreme Court Justice Lawton Nuss shared with legislators. If it is the Kansas Commission on Judicial Qualifications that performs this investigation, I doubt we will see much happen.

Last year, I along with Karl Peterjohn of the Kansas Taxpayers Network filed complaints with this commission against Justices Allegrucci and Nuss. I thought we made compelling cases, but the commission disagreed. (You may read my complaints and commentary in the links referred to below.) There was very little reporting in Kansas news media. Only lately has Kansas news media sensed that something might be wrong.

The Kansas Meadowlark has uncovered a Salina Journal article published on October 22, 2002, that tells how, in 2002, Justice Nuss recused himself from the school finance case, as he had represented the Salina school district in the past. This is the very issue that Karl and I placed before the Kansas Commission on Judicial Qualifications. See Meadowlark also has some good ideas here:

Links to Voice For Liberty in Wichita articles:

Ethics Require Recusal in School Finance Lawsuit

The Ethics Case Against Justice Donald L. Allegrucci

The Wrong Canon; The Wrong Allegrucci

The Ethics Case Against Justice Lawton R. Nuss

Judicial Abuse Authorized in Kansas

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, or, Judicial-Legislative Dinners Continue in the Age of Montoy

Karl Peterjohn, Kansas Taxpayers Network

The April 20, 2006 newspapers contain articles about the member of the Kansas Supreme Court, Lawton Nuss, belatedly recusing himself following the revelation that he had lunched with at least two legislators March 1 and improperly discussed the school finance lawsuit. I keep hearing reports of possibly at least one more legislator (Senate President Morris and Sen. Brungardt are the two who have been publicly identified as meeting with Nuss) also attending this luncheon meeting while discussing the continuing and apparently perpetual Montoy school finance lawsuit.

KTN is now in a position to reveal that Kay McFarland, the court’s chief had lunch yesterday with the chair of the senate’s powerful spending committee, Ways and Means chairman, Sen. Dwayne Umbarger.

Now I don’t know if anyone else from the court or the legislature joined Dwayne and Kay. I’m sure a fascinating discussion was held about the wonderful spring weather we’ve been having with only a slight diversion to discussion of something that would justify the taxpayers picking up the luncheon costs…..who picked up the tab and paid? Or was it a dutch treat? Do they dine together regularly or was this the very first time? My mind is filled with so many questions in the age of perpetual litigation and judicial usurpation. However, I am just a lowly taxpayer with a penchant for posting and too many bad experiences following closed door meetings where the public is banned and often fiscally damned.

The luncheon discussion must have been over “judicial budgets” or something like that. School finance would be a topic taboo. In the age of perpetual school finance edicts heralding the age of Montoy, that is another meal that is hard for many hard working Kansas taxpayers to swallow. Taxpayers pay for the six figure judicial salaries, the expense accounts plus a wide assortment of other expensive benefits, and most importantly, the odious and outrageous spending edicts coming from this activist court.

Let me remind the readers of this post that this is not the first time that there have been indications of irregular communications occurring between the court and elected officials in this case. House speaker Doug Mays has publicly expressed his frustration over the knowledge that Governor Sebelius had about the court’s, at that time unreleased edict, that she expressed in a legislative leadership meeting in the governor’s office during the special session last summer. At that time the governor’s chief of staff was Joyce Allegrucci. Ms. Allegrucci is the wife of another Supreme Court member, one of the five Democrat members of this court, Don Allegrucci. Since April, 2005 the governor has been publicly backing the position that Kansas public school spending is inadequate and following the court’s $284 million spending hike edict last year.

When it comes to the rule of law in Kansas, this is a mandate applying only to the peasants and peons who get to pay the tab for our statehouse masters. When I use the word “statehouse” it includes the appointed masters operating out of the KS “Judicial” Center too.

Last year I filed two ethics complaints against Nuss and Allegrucci that were dismissed by the court’s “ethics” panel after closed door hearings that no one except the panel itself could attend. It now is apparent that the complaints against Nuss that were filed by myself and a separate complaint filed by Bob Weeks were valid. The court’s self appointed committee meeting rejected our complaints during their closed door meetings last year. Yesterday’s recussal is a vindication of a sort but totally inadequate for providing an explanation of what is going on in the perpetual school finance imbroglio created by the Kansas Supreme Court continuing edicts in Montoy. The public and press must remember that the Kansas Supreme Court has issued no decision that is appealable to a court with real ethics!

Last year the court finally said that the Kansas Constitution requires $285 million in additional school spending in 2005 (where does it say that and how does this amount change yearly?) and for this year the amount is … drum roll please … don’t forget — we’ve got the $289 million in additional revenue estimates to spend with the latest revenue forecast … do the judges get their pay raise too? … what part of Article six, section 6 sets specific school expenditure figures? … oh, what the hell, who are we lunching with tomorrow? … let’s announce it … after lunch!

An aside for those who care about the future of Kansas: Yesterday the U.S. Census issued their latest report from 2000-2004 on population growth trends and Kansas came in a dismal 46th out of the 50 states in terms of population growth, “average annual rates of net domestic migration,” see figure 2 on page 4 of this report. We did beat New York that scored 50th.

Actually, “population growth” is a misnomer. It’s population loss in the case of Kansas. This report is the most recent listed on the U.S. Census Department’s web site.

Karl Peterjohn, Kansas Taxpayers Network


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