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The Kansas Supreme Court
301 SW 10th Avenue
Topeka Kansas 66612-1507

Office of Judicial Administration
Telephone:
 785.296.2256
Fax:  785.296.7076
Email: info@kscourts.org

Appellate Clerk's Office
Telephone:
 785.296.3229
Fax:  785.296.1028
Email: appellateclerk@kscourts.org


News Releases

02/11/16: Kansas Supreme Court issues decision in equity portion of school funding case
02/05/16: Tom Whitworth recognized for dedicated service in annual State of the Kansas Judiciary
02/05/16: Patty Nurnberg recognized for dedicated service in annual State of the Kansas Judiciary address
02/05/16: Sarah Mays recognized for dedicated service in annual State of the Kansas Judiciary address
02/05/16: Judge Daniel Duncan recognized for dedicated service in annual State of the Kansas Judiciary
02/05/16: Judge David Casement recognized for dedicated service in annual State of the Kansas Judiciary address
02/03/16: Supreme Court to conduct special evening session March 9 at Topeka High School
01/26/16: Judge Hornbaker of 8th judicial district to sit with Kansas Supreme Court January 28
01/22/16: Court of Appeals issues decision in case involving 2015 abortion law
01/11/16: Chief Justice to give State of the Judiciary February 3

See the Archives for new releases dating back to 1997


NEWS RELEASE: February 11, 2016

For more information
contact Lisa Taylor
Public Information Director
785-296-4872
taylorl@kscourts.org

Kansas Supreme Court issues decision in equity portion of school funding case
No. 113,267: Luke Gannon, et al v. State of Kansas, et al

TOPEKA—The Kansas Supreme Court today issued its decision in Gannon v. State of Kansas, a dispute over K-12 public education financing. The high court affirmed the ruling of a three-judge district court panel that the state had failed to correct unconstitutional inequities in Kansas' school funding system. The court stayed the issuance of its mandate until June 30, 2016, effectively extending the time for the state to correct the inequities. The court also dismissed from the suit State Treasurer Ron Estes and former Secretary of Administration Jim Clark and denied the plaintiffs' request for attorney fees.

The plaintiffs are four school districts that sued the state in November 2010. Each district lost funding beginning in fiscal year 2009 after the Legislature eliminated capital outlay state aid and reduced appropriations for base state aid per pupil and supplemental general state aid. The school districts claimed these actions violated the education article of the people's Constitution—Article 6—which requires the Legislature to "make suitable provision for finance of the educational interests of the state."

In a decision issued March 7, 2014, the Supreme Court clarified that Article 6 contains both adequacy and equity components. In other words, the Legislature must provide enough funds to ensure public school students receive a constitutionally adequate education and must distribute those funds in a way that does not result in unreasonable wealth-based disparities among districts. Today's decision addresses only the school districts' equity claims; their adequacy claims are currently on hold.

In its March 2014 decision, the Supreme Court concluded the Legislature created unconstitutional funding disparities among districts when it withheld capital outlay state aid payments and reduced supplemental general state aid payments owed to certain districts in fiscal years 2010, 2011, and 2012. The court returned the case to Shawnee County District Court and ordered the three-judge panel to review any legislative response for compliance with the people's Constitution.

During its 2015 session, the Legislature amended the school funding system for fiscal year 2015 by revising the formulas for capital outlay state aid and supplemental general state aid. These changes resulted in a loss of about $54 million to lower-property wealth districts receiving the aid, while wealthier districts without need of the aid lost no funding. For fiscal years 2016 and 2017, the Legislature repealed the existing system and enacted a block grant funding system that essentially froze school funding at 2015 levels.

The district court panel determined this 2015 legislation did not cure the unconstitutional inequities, and the Supreme Court affirmed that ruling today. The court determined that the legislative reductions actually increased wealth-based disparities among districts because they widened the gap between those districts receiving the aid and those without a need for it.

The court retained jurisdiction to review any legislation enacted in response to its ruling.

Note to media: Documents related to this case are available online at
http://www.kscourts.org/kansas-courts/supreme-court/Cases_of_interest/Cases/113267/default.asp.


NEWS RELEASE: February 5, 2016

For more information
contact Lisa Taylor
Public Information Director
785-296-4872
taylorl@kscourts.org

Tom Whitworth recognized for dedicated service in annual State of the Kansas Judiciary
address

TOPEKA—Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss recognized Probation Officer Tom Whitworth in his State of the Kansas Judiciary address delivered February 3 in the Supreme Court courtroom in Topeka to an audience of Kansas legislators, judicial branch employees and key constituent groups.

"The judicial branch is fortunate to employ so many faithful professionals who have dedicated their entire careers to providing Kansans fair and impartial courts," said Nuss. "It is my pleasure to recognize a few, like Tom Whitworth, who is just one example of the state's many judicial branch employees committed to public service."

Whitworth, an Army veteran, has been a probation officer in Johnson County and is part of the new Veterans Treatment Court for the 10th judicial district.

"I have been a Kansas court services officer in Johnson County for 17 years. My caseload has been primarily domestic violence offenses. During that time I have worked with Safehome, and served on several Community Violence Action Council committees. I am presently the community supervision officer for Veterans Treatment Court. I consider this to be a highlight of my career, and I feel very privileged to do so," said Whitworth.

The Kansas judicial branch is made up of one Supreme Court, one Court of Appeals, and more than 100 district courts. Its courts employ more than 250 judges and 1,600 court administrators, court clerks, court reporters, court services officers, and other support staff in communities all across Kansas. Together, they process nearly 400,000 cases a year such as criminal, civil, juvenile, probate, child in need of care, domestic, traffic, and adoptions.

A video recording of the Chief Justice's 2016 State of the Kansas Judiciary is available online at www.kscourts.org/court-administration/publications.asp.


NEWS RELEASE: February 5, 2016

For more information
contact Lisa Taylor
Public Information Director
785-296-4872
taylorl@kscourts.org

Patty Nurnberg recognized for dedicated service in annual State of the Kansas Judiciary
address

TOPEKA—Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss recognized Administrative Assistant Patty Nurnberg in his State of the Kansas Judiciary address delivered February 3 in the Supreme Court courtroom in Topeka to an audience of Kansas legislators, judicial branch employees and key constituent groups.

"The judicial branch is fortunate to employ so many faithful professionals who have dedicated their entire careers to providing Kansans fair and impartial courts," said Nuss. "It is my pleasure to recognize a few, like Patty Nurnberg, who is just one example of the state's many judicial branch employees committed to public service."

Nurnberg has been an administrative assistant for 32 years in the 5th judicial district, composed of Chase and Lyon counties.

"It has been my privilege and pleasure to have worked with so many hardworking people in the 5th judicial district for so many years. In spite of furloughs, denial of COLA, and staff shortages, all of our personnel – clerks, probation officers, court reporters, administrative staff, and judges – have served the public with dedication and integrity. Working 18 years in the Chase County District Court and 13 years in the Lyon County District Court has been an honor for me," said Nurnberg.

The Kansas judicial branch is made up of one Supreme Court, one Court of Appeals, and more than 100 district courts. Its courts employ more than 250 judges and 1,600 court administrators, court clerks, court reporters, court services officers, and other support staff in communities all across Kansas. Together, they process nearly 400,000 cases a year such as criminal, civil, juvenile, probate, child in need of care, domestic, traffic, and adoptions.

A video recording of the Chief Justice's 2016 State of the Kansas Judiciary is available online at www.kscourts.org/court-administration/publications.asp.


NEWS RELEASE: February 5, 2016

For more information
contact Lisa Taylor
Public Information Director
785-296-4872
taylorl@kscourts.org

Sarah Mays recognized for dedicated service in annual State of the Kansas Judiciary
address

TOPEKA—Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss recognized Chief Court Services Officer Sarah Mays in his State of the Kansas Judiciary address delivered February 3 in the Supreme Court courtroom in Topeka to an audience of Kansas legislators, judicial branch employees and key constituent groups.

"The judicial branch is fortunate to employ so many faithful professionals who have dedicated their entire careers to providing Kansans fair and impartial courts," said Nuss. "It is my pleasure to recognize a few, like Sarah Mays, who is just one example of the state's many judicial branch employees committed to public service."

Mays has been a court services officer in Shawnee County for 39 years.

"I became a probation officer because I wanted to make a difference in the lives of children and families involved in the juvenile justice system. I hope I have done that. As a longtime judicial branch employee, I'd like the public to know probation officers are dedicated public servants who assist in keeping our communities safe and in equipping offenders with the skills to become productive law abiding citizens. We are proud to be part of the judicial branch and of the contributions we all make in our communities and the State." said Mays.

The Kansas judicial branch is made up of one Supreme Court, one Court of Appeals, and more than 100 district courts. Its courts employ more than 250 judges and 1,600 court administrators, court clerks, court reporters, court services officers, and other support staff in communities all across Kansas. Together, they process nearly 400,000 cases a year such as criminal, civil, juvenile, probate, child in need of care, domestic, traffic, and adoptions.

A video recording of the Chief Justice's 2016 State of the Kansas Judiciary is available online at www.kscourts.org/court-administration/publications.asp.


NEWS RELEASE: February 5, 2016

For more information
contact Lisa Taylor
Public Information Director
785-296-4872
taylorl@kscourts.org

Judge Daniel Duncan recognized for dedicated service in annual State of the Kansas
Judiciary

TOPEKA—Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss recognized District Judge Daniel Duncan in his State of the Kansas Judiciary address delivered February 3 in the Supreme Court courtroom in Topeka to an audience of Kansas legislators, judicial branch employees and key constituent groups. "The judicial branch is fortunate to employ so many faithful professionals who have dedicated entire careers to providing Kansans fair and impartial courts," said Nuss. "It is my pleasure to recognize a few, like Judge Daniel Duncan, who is just one example of the state's many judges committed to public service."

Duncan has been a district judge in the 29th judicial district, composed of Wyandotte County, for 27 years.

"It has been an honor and a privilege to serve the citizens of Wyandotte County as one of their judges for the last 27 years. I am thankful for the opportunity to be of service to the community and grateful for the trust in my abilities they have displayed by returning me to office for seven terms." said Duncan.

The Kansas judicial branch is made up of one Supreme Court, one Court of Appeals, and more than 100 district courts. Its courts employ more than 250 judges and 1,600 court administrators, court clerks, court reporters, court services officers, and other support staff in communities all across Kansas. Together, they process nearly half a million criminal, civil and traffic cases a year.

A video recording of the 2016 State of the Kansas Judiciary is available online at www.kscourts.org/court-administration/publications.asp.


NEWS RELEASE: February 5, 2016

For more information
contact Lisa Taylor
Public Information Director
785-296-4872
taylorl@kscourts.org

Judge David Casement recognized for dedicated service in annual State of the Kansas
Judiciary address

TOPEKA—Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss recognized District Magistrate Judge David Casement in his State of the Kansas Judiciary address delivered February 3 in the Supreme Court courtroom in Topeka to an audience of Kansas legislators, judicial branch employees and key constituent groups.

"The judicial branch is fortunate to employ so many faithful professionals who have dedicated their entire careers to providing Kansans fair and impartial courts," said Nuss. "It is my pleasure to recognize a few, like Judge David Casement, who is just one example of the state's many judges committed to public service."

Casement has been a district magistrate judge in the 14th judicial district, composed of Chautauqua and Montgomery counties, for 24 years.

"It has been a privilege to serve the citizens of the 14th judicial district for over 24 years and it was an honor to be recognized by the Chief Justice for that service. The Kansas judicial branch employs hundreds of equally deserving judges and support staff and they all deserve and appreciate an occasional pat on the back," said Casement.

The Kansas judicial branch is made up of one Supreme Court, one Court of Appeals, and more than 100 district courts. Its courts employ more than 250 judges and 1,600 court administrators, court clerks, court reporters, court services officers, and other support staff in communities all across Kansas. Together, they process nearly 400,000 cases a year such as criminal, civil, juvenile, probate, child in need of care, domestic, traffic, and adoptions.

A video recording of the Chief Justice's 2016 State of the Kansas Judiciary is available online at www.kscourts.org/court-administration/publications.asp.


NEWS RELEASE: February 3, 2016

For more information
contact Lisa Taylor
Public Information Director
785-296-4872
taylorl@kscourts.org

Supreme Court to conduct special evening session March 9 at Topeka High School

TOPEKA—The Kansas Supreme Court announced today it will conduct a special evening session at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 9, at Topeka High School as part of its ongoing outreach to familiarize Kansans with the high court, its work, and the overall role of the Kansas judiciary.

The court will be in session from 6:30 p.m. to about 8 p.m. in the auditorium of Topeka High School at 800 SW 10th Avenue in Topeka.

Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss
Kansas Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss

"The Supreme Court has conducted special sessions in communities all across Kansas, but this is our first evening session in Topeka," said Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss. "We chose Topeka High School for its historical significance in our community, although we would be honored to visit any of the Topeka area high schools."

The public is invited to attend the special session to observe the court as it hears oral arguments in cases to be announced prior to March. After the hearing concludes, the justices will greet the public in an informal reception in the school's cafeteria.

"Community visits are a great way for the people of Kansas to get to know us — who we are and what we do — and to learn about the judiciary's role in our society," said Nuss. "We encourage anyone who's ever been curious about Supreme Court proceedings to come. We provide live webcasts of all our courtroom sessions in the Kansas Judicial Center, but people tell us there's nothing like seeing proceedings in person."

The Supreme Court's has conducted several special sessions outside its Topeka courtroom since 2011 and the sessions regularly draw crowds numbering in the hundreds. The court's first evening session in Hays in spring 2015 drew an estimated 700 people, and a crowd estimated to number 500 attended an evening session in Garden City in October 2015.

In 2011, the court marked the state sesquicentennial by convening in a special session in the historic Supreme Court courtroom in the Kansas Statehouse. From there, and through the end of 2011, the court conducted special sessions in Salina, Greensburg, and Wichita. The court held sessions in Overland Park in 2012, Pittsburg in 2013, Kansas City in 2014, Hays in April 2015, and Garden City in October 2015.


NEWS RELEASE: January 26, 2016

For more information
contact Lisa Taylor
Public Information Director
785-296-4872
taylorl@kscourts.org

Judge Hornbaker of 8th judicial district to sit with Kansas Supreme Court January 28

TOPEKA — Judge Steven L. Hornbaker of the 8th judicial district has been appointed to sit with the Kansas Supreme Court to hear oral arguments in one case on the court's 9 a.m. docket Thursday, January 28.

After hearing oral arguments, Hornbaker will join Supreme Court justices in their deliberations and opinion drafting.

Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss
Kansas Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss

"I am pleased that Judge Hornbaker is taking time from his duties in the 8th judicial district to sit with the Supreme Court," said Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss. "It's a great help to our court and we look forward to his contributions deliberating this case."

Hornbaker has been a judge for 16 years in the 8th judicial district, which is made up of Dickinson, Geary, Marion, and Morris counties.

Judge Steven L. Hornbaker
Judge Steven L. Hornbaker

"I am honored to be asked to sit with the Supreme Court to hear this important case," Hornbaker said. "I have great respect for our Supreme Court and am thrilled to have this opportunity."

Before becoming a judge, Hornbaker practiced law in Junction City for 27 years. He is a graduate of Washburn University School of Law School, and he has been married to his wife, Sue, for 38 years. They have one son, Andy.

All Supreme Court oral arguments are webcast live through the Watch Supreme Court Live! link in the right-hand column of the Kansas Judicial Branch website at www.kscourts.org.

The case Hornbaker will hear is the first one scheduled on the Supreme Court's 9 a.m. docket Thursday, January 28:

Appeal No. 112,008: Sierra Club v. Susan Mosier, M.D., in her official capacity as Secretary of Kansas Department of Health and Environment, et al.

Kansas Department of Health and Environment: This is an administrative appeal from orders made in response to Sunflower Electric Cooperative's application for a permit to construct a generating unit in Holcomb. Sierra Club now seeks a review of the supplemental administrative order issued by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment that would authorize Sunflower to build an 895-megawatt coal-fired electric generating unit and associated equipment in Holcomb. At KDHE's request, the appeal was transferred to the Kansas Supreme Court for direct review.

Issues on appeal are whether KDHE may issue a permit without: 1) ensuring that it will comply with all existing national ambient air quality standards; 2) adequate emissions limits for hazardous air pollutants; and, 3) emissions limits for greenhouse gases.


NEWS RELEASE: January 22, 2016

For more information
contact Lisa Taylor
Public Information Director
785-296-4872
taylorl@kscourts.org

Court of Appeals issues decision in case involving 2015 abortion law

TOPEKA—An equally divided Kansas Court of Appeals issued its decision today in the appeal from a temporary injunction granted by a Shawnee County district judge barring the enforcement of a law passed by the 2015 Kansas Legislature that places restrictions on a procedure commonly used in second-term abortions.

The plaintiffs, Herbert C. Hodes, M.D., and Traci Lynn Nauser, M.D., sought to prevent the new law from taking effect July 1, 2015.

When an appellate court is equally divided, the judgment of the lower court is affirmed. In this case, seven appellate judges voted in favor of affirming the district court's order and seven voted in favor of reversing it. As a result, the district court's order granting the temporary injunction is affirmed.

In granting the temporary injunction, the district court ruled, for the first time in a Kansas court, that the Kansas Constitution provides a right to an abortion independent of the right found in the United States Constitution. The district court also ruled that the plaintiffs established a substantial likelihood of success on their claim that the new law violates their patients' right to abortion protected by the Kansas Constitution.

The Court of Appeals heard the case en banc, meaning that all 14 judges on the court participated in deciding the appeal. In today's ruling, the equally divided appellate court upheld the district court's temporary injunction.

In an opinion authored by Judge Steve Leben, six judges agreed with the district court that the Kansas Constitution provides the same protection for abortion rights as the United States Constitution. These judges also found there is a substantial likelihood that the new Kansas law is unconstitutional, so the district court properly granted the temporary injunction. In a concurring opinion, Judge G. Gordon Atcheson also agreed that the district court's temporary injunction should be upheld.

In an opinion authored by Chief Judge Thomas E. Malone, seven judges would find that the Kansas Constitution does not provide an independent state-law right to an abortion. These judges would set aside the temporary injunction granted by the district court.

Note to media: All documents filed in this case are available on the court's website at http://www.kscourts.org/kansas-courts/supreme-court/Cases_of_interest/Cases/114153/default.asp


NEWS RELEASE: January 11, 2016

For more information
contact Lisa Taylor
Public Information Director
785-296-4872
taylorl@kscourts.org

Chief Justice to give State of the Judiciary February 3

TOPEKA—Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss will give his State of the Kansas Judiciary address at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, February 3, from the courtroom of the Supreme Court in the Kansas Judicial Center, Topeka.

Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss
Kansas Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss

He will give the address to an invited audience that will include Kansas legislators, judicial branch employees and key constituent groups.

Chief Justice Nuss' State of the Judiciary address is the third in Kansas' 155-year history to be delivered from the courtroom of the Supreme Court.

Nuss speaks from the courtroom in part to make it available via webcast to address the public's interest in the state's courts and their role providing important services to individuals and businesses all across Kansas.

The public can access a live webcast of the State of the Judiciary address by following the Watch Supreme Court Live! link in the right-hand column of the Kansas judicial branch website at www.kscourts.org. A recording of the address will be available online for playback by anyone unable to watch the address live.