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Retention of Kansas justices is no longer a given

Justice Dan Biles, front row, far right, wrote the opinion for the court.
The justices of the Supreme Court of Kansas. Seated from left: Justice Eric Rosen; Chief Justice Marla Luckert; Justice Dan Biles. Standing from left: Justice K.J. Wall; Justice Caleb Stegall; Justice Evelyn Wilson; Justice Melissa Taylor Standridge.

Historically, it's been almost routine for voters to allow judges to keep their places on the bench. After recent decisions, voters are looking more closely at the power of the courts.

In 2019, on a 6-1 vote, the Supreme Court of Kansas determined that the state constitution guaranteed the right to an abortion. Now, after Kansans voted to uphold that right by rejecting an amendment to the state constitution on Aug. 2, six of the court’s justices are up for retention in November.

It's especially tough for voters to make informed decisions because the justices are barred from campaigning.

Two experts joined Up to Date to review the selection process for Supreme Court justices and why some state lawmakers continue to talk about changing that process.

  • Carol Beier, former justice on the Kansas Supreme Court from 2003 to 2020
  • Steve Leben, Douglas R. Stripp Missouri Distinguished Professor of Law, University of Missouri-Kansas City. He served 27 years as a judge in Kansas.
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