The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT) has filed a complaint against Kansas Supreme Court Justice Carol Beier with the Kansas Commission of Judicial Qualifications.
The complaint alleges that Beier breached the Code of Judicial Conduct by hosting a political fundraiser at her home for former gubernatorial candidate Paul Davis in 2014. The Judicial Code of Conduct requires that Justices "act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the independence, integrity, and impartiality of the judiciary, and avoid the impropriety and the appearance of impropriety."
Technically, the Davis fundraiser at the Beier house was hosted by Carol's husband. However, in a 1990 ethics opinion, in which the commission debated whether a meet-the-governor campaign fundraiser could be held at the jointly owned home of a judge's spouse the commission explained that even though the judge in question was to have no involvement in the event, it "may well be viewed by the general public as a political endorsement by the judge himself of a candidate for public office.... Public confidence in the independence and impartiality of the judiciary is eroded if judges or judicial candidates are perceived to be subject to political influence."
I lost confidence in the circus known as the Kansas Supreme Court about the time the justices (laughably) threatened to board up the schools unless the Kansas Legislature handed over more funding so Wichita homeowners could have a tax break.
I think Wichita citizens lost confidence in members of the Kansas Supreme Court about the time the Justices overturned the death sentences of the Carr brothers. Confidence in members of the Kansas Supreme Court was further eroded when the U.S. Supreme Court slapped the justices in a scathing 8-1 opinion ruling the state Supreme Court was way, way out-of-line in overturning the penalty.
The good news is Kansans have a remedy to fix the clown show known as the Kansas Supreme Court. Five justices, including Beier, will be up for retention votes this fall. Voters should carefully consider whether a justice who shows such a lapse in judgement as to host a political fundraiser at her home has the judgement required to sit on Kansas' highest court.
Only one justice up for retention should be saved, Caleb Stegall. Let's keep this man of integrity and send the other four packing.
By the way, it's interesting that media in the state is covering this potential ethics violation by Beier as a brief on the inside back page of nowhere in newspaper pages. You just KNOW that if the judge in question was Stegall, it would be plastered all over page one above the fold.
But Beier is a liberal favorite, happy to be the handmaiden to political corruption, so the story only warrants on tiny mention on the inside pages. Kansas media, for the love of all things holy, it's time to do your jobs and cover both sides equally. Every time any popsicle stand of a group files a complaint against Kris Kobach, there are front page stories, and bitter editorials, but this Justice has a very valid complaint filed and it's ho-hum.
The journalism profession deserves better.This journalistic oversight is egregious, and Kansans deserve better.