Gun group urges ouster of state Supreme Court justices

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - The political action committee of the Kansas State Rifle Association says its automated phone pitch urging voters to oust "anti-gun" Kansas Supreme Court justices is based on past statements but not on any court rulings.

In the automated call, the Kansas State Rifle Association PAC warns that federal courts in the state are moving to restrict the right to bear arms before pivoting to hit at the state Supreme Court. The Topeka Capital-Journal obtained a recording of the call.

The Kansas judicial retention contests on the ballot Tuesday have been closely-watched this year because the court's makeup could change considerably if there are ousters. But so far the fight over retention of five state Supreme Court justices has focused mostly on abortion and death penalty decisions.

"Anti-gun judges are bad for your Second Amendment right," the call says. "This Tuesday, vote no on the anti-gun Kansas Supreme Court."

The state Supreme Court hasn't issued any controversial gun or Second Amendment-related opinions recently. Moriah Day, the KSRA PAC chairman, said that the "anti-gun" label was based on previous statements, not recent rulings.

"Some of them have expressed in the past that they're not in favor of the kind of freedoms on the Second Amendment that the KSRA supports," Day said, adding he didn't have specific references in front of him.

Day said the KSRA has no issues with Justice Caleb Stegall, an appointee of Gov. Sam Brownback. The KSRA is the state affiliate of the National Rifle Association, which endorsed Brownback in the 2014 election. In Kansas, the governor selects a justice from a list of potential choices provided by a nominating commission of attorneys.

"This call is just another example of Gov. Brownback and his political allies throwing everything but the kitchen sink at the court," said Joyce Morrison, spokeswoman for Kansans for Fair Courts, the primary group promoting the retention of all the justices.

Published: Tue, Nov 08, 2016


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