Judges Gone Wild #1
by David Gittrich
The current Kansas Supreme Court is composed of seven justices, four of whom were appointed by Gov. Sebelius from nominations submitted by a private lawyer dominated commission. There will be more on the Supreme Court Nomination Commission later in this series of articles on the Court’s selection process.
Background: Legislation to restrict and regulate abortion has continually been challenged in state and federal courts since the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade declaring that a so-called right to abortion was found in the penumbra of the U.S. Constitution.
In recent years, as more and more of the general public identify as being pro-life, elected officials reflect this view by enacting laws to restrict abortion. The response of attorneys representing the abortion industry is a two-pronged strategy:
- Overall, try to block pro-life laws from taking effect by filing targeted challenges against these laws in judicial circuits with favorable (pro-abort) courts.
Specifically pursue those legal challenges in the state’s Supreme Court, hoping for a decision that not only strikes down a pro-life law, but also “discovers” broad abortion protection in our 1859 state constitution.
Pro-Life Concern: Since each state Supreme Court has the authority to interpret its state’s constitution, it can do on the state level what the U.S. Supreme Court did on a national level. In effect, these liberal judges can toss aside the will of the people.
This is what happened in the conservative state of Tennessee after it passed pro-life laws in 1992. The laws never went into effect, spending eight years in the lower courts before their state Supreme Court disposed of them, having discovered a state constitutional “privacy” right to an abortion that was defined more broadly than the federal abortion right created in Roe v. Wade.
It took Tennessee fourteen years to mount a successful ballot initiative to amend their state constitution spelling out that no such abortion right exists. Now they are in a position to enact pro-life restrictions, but they suffered an unnecessary twenty-two year setback in the interim.
Kansans are overwhelmingly pro-life, and we have become the flagship state in passing good pro-life laws. Thus we are targeted by the abortion industry to implement the strategy stated above.
Since 2011, five Kansas pro-life laws have been challenged in eight different legal actions with the Attorney General’s team winning all lawsuits so far. But some lawsuits drag on with the result that two pro-life laws are not yet in effect and one law is in effect but still headed to court.
If our liberal-leaning Supreme Court justices agree, all of our current abortion restrictions could be erased, and the state could be forced to pay for abortions!
As pro-lifers, we must not allow all of our hard work over the years to be destroyed by handful of judges selected by a private nominating committee dominated by liberal, anti-life-biased attorneys. Therefore, we must ensure the selection process for our judges is changed so that sound, life-protective legislation can continue.
(This is the first of a series of articles concerning the judicial selection process.)