Government & Politics

Kansas Chief Justice Nuss plans to tone down pleas for more funding

Kansas Chief Justice Lawton Nuss said Wednesday he plans to avoid a high-profile fight with the Legislature over funding the courts this year.

Nuss said he wants to take a different approach than the last two years when he engaged in public spats with state Sen. Jeff King, the Independence Republican and chair of the Judiciary Committee.

“I was afraid I was turning into a whiner and a complainer,” Nuss told reporters after giving his annual state of the judiciary address. “I decided instead of that approach, we’ll try the other one.”

Nuss avoided any references to court politics and funding during his speech to about 170 people in the Supreme Court chambers.

Nuss and the court have been at odds with the conservative-controlled Legislature in recent years over funding and rulings that overturned death penalty decisions.

There have been efforts to give Gov. Sam Brownback more control over appointments to the state Supreme Court.

Nuss defended the current system of picking judges with a screening panel of lawyers and nonlawyers who recommend three candidates to the govenor. He also expressed concern about electing judges, saying it could put judges in a position of ruling on cases involving political supporters

To reach Brad Cooper, call 816-234-7724 or send email to bcooper@kcstar.com.

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