Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach appears to have filed an incomplete legal document with a federal court, including a note that one of his arguments is probably not worth arguing.
In a post-trial filing in a lawsuit against Kobach’s office, one of his proposed legal conclusions in the 72-page document for the judge to consider is that the plaintiffs in the case lack standing. This is followed by a question mark and note in all capital letters that this is “PROBABLY NOT WORTH ARGUING.”
The next bullet point is blank.
Another portion of the document also includes the statement that it "has been illegal to register to vote in Kansas for years." Kobach likely meant that it is illegal for non-citizens to register to vote.
Kobach’s office did not immediately comment on whether this was a draft that was mistakenly filed with the court or whether he intended to file something that stated that one of his arguments was not worth argument. The case concerns whether Kansas has the authority to require voters to provide proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate or passport.
Dale Ho, the director of the American Civil Liberties Union's voting rights project, said in an email that the voters who are suing the state indisputably have standing in the case and he's "glad Secretary Kobach and his team realize that."
Sophia Lin Lakin, another plaintiffs' attorney with the ACLU, added that the note was "Probably one of the better judgment calls they’ve made in this case."
Kobach's office filed a corrected version of the document later that is 11 pages shorter than the original filing. The argument about the plaintiffs' standing is omitted from the second version.
Kobach’s team repeatedly ran into procedural hurdles last month during the trial, prompting the judge to lecture him that this is not how trials are conducted. In addition to serving as his own attorney in the case, Kobach is also running for Kansas governor.
U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson officially held Kobach in contempt of court last week on the basis that he had failed to adhere to an earlier order requiring him to treat the voters affected by the case the same as all other voters while the litigation is pending.
The Star's Steve Vockrodt contributed to this story.