U.S. Supreme Court | KCUR

U.S. Supreme Court

Kansas Department of Corrections

In a ruling that could have implications for criminal cases nationwide, the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday ruled against a Kansas death row inmate who argued that the state's laws regarding the insanity defense are unconstitutional.

Kansas and three other states — Utah, Montana and Idaho — have banished the insanity defense as a formal mechanism. Alaska also has severe restrictions on its use.

What’s At Stake In The Guns Case At The Supreme Court?

Sep 26, 2019
noclip / Wikimedia Commons

Dave Hardy, an attorney in private practice in Arizona, thinks this is the term when the Supreme Court finally decides whether a constitutional right to carry a firearm extends beyond the front door.

Gun rights advocates like Hardy, who’s been writing about the Second Amendment since the 1970s, have waited for years for the Supreme Court to hear a new challenge to a gun control law.

“You don’t do much work in the field, in terms of earning money, but it’s been something that interests me,” Hardy said.

Seg. 1: Simon Tam | Seg. 2: Chiefs' Name

Aug 20, 2019

Segment 1: On taking a bandname all the way to the Supreme Court.

Is it possible to be offensive to oneself? That's a question Simon Tam, frontman for a band called The Slants, brought before the U.S. justice system. He's using his story to encourage Asian American professionals in leadership positions to "lean into" their values. 

Missouri Department of Corrections

The Missouri Supreme Court on Tuesday set an execution date of Oct. 1 for Russell Bucklew, whose challenge to the state’s lethal injection method was rejected three months ago by the U.S. Supreme Court.

If carried out, Bucklew will be the first Missouri prisoner executed since January 2017, when Mark Anthony Christeson was put to death for the 1998 murders in south-central Missouri of a mother and her two children.

Seg. 1: Transforming American Prosecution | Seg. 2: Where Were You?

May 14, 2019

Segment 1: District attorneys' exercise of power has affected mass incarceration and convicted the innocent. 

The United States is the only country in the world that elects its prosecutors who can exert greater influence over criminal cases than judges. The author of "Charged" explained that while these prosecutors can be the "cause of enormous injustice" the pendulum may be swinging the other way as voters are putting more reform-minded candidates in office.

Segment 1: Legal analyst Joan Biskupic dealves into the life of Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts. 

There are many interpretations of the law, and Chief Justice John Roberts has assured Congress that his stance is neutral. A new book on his life and times shows that's not always the case, and perhaps there's more that goes into Roberts' rationale than he wants to believe.   

Missouri Department of Corrections

A narrowly divided U.S. Supreme Court rejected a Missouri death row inmate’s challenge to the state’s single-drug lethal injection method, finding Monday it does not amount to “cruel and unusual” punishment.

U.S. Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear the appeal of a Kansas death row inmate who claims the state unconstitutionally abolished his right to use insanity as a defense for his crimes.

Nobody disputes that James Kahler murdered four family members in 2009. But Kahler's attorneys argued at trial and in subsequent appeals that he had spiraled into a mental health crisis in the months preceding the murders and was psychotic during the attack. The murders took place in Burlingame, about 30 miles south of Topeka.

Light Box Entertainment

Segment 1: "The same police and prosecutors  who are deciding whether to take your property, are the agencies that stand to benefit financially from doing just that," says attorney in recent case. 

The seizure of one man's Land Rover after a drug sale, led to the U.S. Supreme Court issuing a ruling in Timbs v. Indiana that sent a warning to law enforcement across the country. One of the attorneys in the matter and a constitutional expert walked us through this case and the high court's 9-0 decision.  

Claire Anderson / Unsplash

An appeal filed by a Kansas man on death row has caught the attention of the U.S. Supreme Court and could change how Kansas and other states prosecute people who commit crimes while mentally ill.

Nobody disputes that James Kahler murdered four family members in 2009. But Kahler’s attorneys argued at trial and in subsequent appeals that he had spiraled into a mental health crisis in the months preceding the murders and was psychotic during the attack. The murders took place in Burlingame, about 30 miles south of Topeka.

Updated at 2:42 p.m. ET

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear a case brought by Republican-led states that were seeking to defund Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood and other organizations that provide women's reproductive health services.

The Department of Justice asked the Supreme Court on Friday to bypass lower courts and rule quickly on its ban of most transgender military members.

Missouri Department of Corrections

The U.S. Supreme Court hears oral arguments Tuesday in the case of a Missouri death row inmate who suffers from a rare disease and claims the state’s plan to execute him by lethal injection violates the Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

Russell Bucklew contends the process could cause ruptures of tumors in his head, throat and neck and result in excruciating pain.

A man with dark hair wearing a suit and tie smiles while sitting behind a microphone.
Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: New UMKC Chancellor C. Mauli Agrawal is focusing on building community and investing in research.

Although the chancellor has only been at UMKC for a few months, his impact is already felt around campus. Today, he talked about one of his main initiatives, raising school spirit, which can be hard to do at a commuter school. Chancellor Agrawal also discussed possible solutions to issues the university currently faces, including housing, student safety and building a new music conservatory.

Missouri state Rep. Brandon Ellington, wearing a black hoodie and glasses, sits behind a microphone.
Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: A Kansas City state representative spotlights poor conditions at a Northwest Missouri correctional facility.

Crossroads Correctional facility in Cameron, Missouri, is still recovering from a violent riot on May 12. In the wake of that uprising, which involved more than 200 inmates, the facility was placed on lockdown. The inmates were denied hot meals and family visits for 4 months. Today, we discussed the conditions inmates are still dealing with. 

Crysta Henthorne / Kansas News Service

The price of compliments

U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts isn’t even running for re-election this year. And he’s from Kansas. Yet he’s become a talking point in one of the most pivotal contests in this mid-term election year.

It seems that Roberts once said the following: “If you want to pick somebody to work in a bipartisan manner and get something done … you ask Claire McCaskill because she does get the job done.”

McCaskill is a Democrat, running for re-election in Republican-dominated Missouri. So those words, from that guy, are campaign gold.

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley is calling for a special counsel to investigate whether U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein and her staff improperly handled sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Hawley, Missouri’s GOP nominee for the U.S. Senate, is joining a number of Republicans who are upset over how the letter from Christine Blasey Ford was leaked to the press several weeks ago.

C-SPAN

As sexual misconduct allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh dominate the news, sexual assault prevention centers in Kansas City have seen an increase in calls from survivors reaching out for support.

Crysta Henthorne / Kansas News Service

Who built it?

Steve Watkins emerged on the Kansas political scene this year as a relative unknown, but with a resume that political consultants could work with. West Point. Army Ranger. Combat patrols on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. Mountain climber. Degrees from MIT and Harvard. Started his own business and grew it to nearly 500 employees.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Since Christine Blasey Ford went public with her allegations that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in high school in the 1980s, survivors in the Kansas City area joined thousands across the U.S. on social media by recounting their own experiences under the hashtag #whyididntreport

Countless others remained quiet, while a few survivors agreed to speak with KCUR about why they never filed charges. These are their stories.

Keith O'Brien, white male in shirt and tie wearing headphones and seated in front of a microphone in the KCUR studio.
Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Second accusation of sexual misconduct against Supreme Court nominee increases some people's doubts about confirmation.

Aviva Okeson-Haberman / KCUR 89.3 file photo

Missouri U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill won’t vote for President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, the Democrat said in a news release Wednesday.

After weeks of deliberation, McCaskill said she opposes Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court because of so-called dark money — donations to nonprofits that keep the source secret.

Both of Missouri’s senators want their colleagues to investigate allegations of sexual assault against President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee.

It comes as Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the high court was expected to get a key vote later this week.

Joe Ravi / CC-BY-SA 3.0

Segment 1: Confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh as newest U.S. Supreme Court justice could launch fresh challenges to women's reproductive rights on the state-level. 

For years, Kansas and Missouri legislatures have been chipping away at a person's ability to terminate a pregnancy. Today, KCUR reporters from both sides of the state line reviewed previous attempts by lawmakers to reduce abortion access and postulated on what a conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court might mean for this issue going forward.

Office of U.S. Senator David Perdue

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is set to face a second round of questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday. He's expected to be questioned about his views on previous Supreme Court cases, as well as a range of policy issues. Kavanaugh is also likely to be questioned about his work on Ken Starr's independent counsel investigation of former President Bill Clinton, and his time working in the White House under former President George W. Bush.

Annette Elizabeth Allen for NPR

After a sometimes raucous day of opening statements on Tuesday, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is facing his first round of questioning from Senators on Wednesday. Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee want to know about Kavanaugh's position on a range of issues including abortion, healthcare and presidential power. The nominee also faces questions about his time working in the Bush administration and his time working under independent counsel Ken Starr.

Kansas' Abortion Past Could Foretell Its Future

Sep 4, 2018
Madeline Fox / Kansas News Service

The incident Julie Burkhart remembers most clearly about the 1991 Summer of Mercy is the man who attached himself to the front gate of a Wichita abortion clinic using a U-lock.

Burkhart was a college student working at one of the three abortion clinics open in Wichita at the time. Today, she runs the one of two clinics left in the city.

Office of Senator Chuck Grassley

Opening statements are underway in the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Watch the hearing live.

Aviva Okeson-Haberman / KCUR 89.3 file photo

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill says she intends on asking Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh about campaign finance, health care and corporate consolidation when she meets with him Tuesday.

McCaskill said the high court’s 2010 Citizens United decision has led to a flood of spending from outside groups, ones that may spend tens of millions of dollars ahead of the November midterm, when she is up for re-election.

UMKC student Ravi Anand Naidu wearing headphones and seated in front of a microphone at KCUR studios.
Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Does Kansas City have a bad reputation within the Indian community? 

Indian nationals coming to America often have to worry about immigration hurdles and racism. Two violent incidents since 2017 in the Kansas City metro have added violence to their list of concerns. Most recently, Sharath Koppu, a UMKC student from India was shot and killed during a robbery at the restaurant where he worked. Today, representatives of the Indian community revealed their views of living here.

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