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Stories From Around the State
Thanks to six months of persuasion from the League of Women Voters of Kansas, judicial vacancy announcements and nominating commission rosters were made public on the Kansas Judicial Branch website in July 2010, significantly increasing the transparency and accessibility of the nominating process. The League strongly recommended this change as a step to increase transparency in the judicial nominating process in Kansas. The League made its recommendation using as a best practice the web page of the Colorado courts.
Date: May 20, 2010
Location: Capital City School, Topeka Public School Complex, Topeka, Kansas
Partners: Topeka/Shawnee County school district
League of Women Voters of Topeka/Shawnee County President Gwen Elliott gave a presentation on the judicial diversity initiative to the School of Social Work, including workers from preschool through high school. Since reaching minority students is a goal of school social workers, the group received information and materials enthusiastically. Ms. Elliott distributed 33 packets to school employees and spouses including a minority practicing attorney and an attorney who does research for the Kansas Supreme Court and the Kansas Court of Appeals.
Date: May 7, 2010
Location: River Festival Sundown Parade, Wichita, Kansas
The League of Women Voters of Wichita, lead by Co-President Denae Lyons, provided exposure to the education campaign at a local Wichita parade by dressing in judicial robes with signs reading “Vote in Women Judges!"
Date: May 4, 2010
Location: Topeka-Shawnee County Public Library, Topeka, Kansas
Partners: Topeka-Shawnee County Public Library
The League of Women Voters of Topeka/Shawnee County held a special Tuesday Topics meeting featuring Mark Dupree, Johnson County Assistant Public Defender, who is also a member of the Kansas Bar Association's Diversity Committee. He spoke about why diversity is important to an effective judiciary.
By: Cynthia Padera
Date: April 29, 2010
Location: Kansas State Union, Manhattan, Kansas
Event: Meeting with Riley County Commission Members/League of Women Voters of Kansas State Council meeting
The League of Women Voters of Manhattan/Riley County focused the State Council meeting of the Leagues of Kansas on promoting a more diverse Kansas judiciary, through a program entitled "So You Want to Be a Judge? Adding Diversity to Kansas’ Fair and Impartial Courts." This effort included a public forum on judicial diversity--featuring Kansas Supreme Court Justice Marla Luckert, Justice Carol Beier, and Court of Appeals Judge Henry Green--followed by advocacy visits to the governor and legislature, along with a press release to educate the public on judicial diversity.
Date: April 29, 2010
Location: Emporia State University, Emporia, Kansas
Partners: Lyon/Chase Bar Association; Emporia State University; Emporia State University Associated Student Government; Hispanics of Today & Tomorrow (HOTT); Emporia High School; American Association of University Women; Washburn University
The League of Women Voters of Emporia held a Law Day forum at Emporia State University entitled “How Can You Make a Difference? Learn How Judges Are Selected!” Speakers included Distinguished Professor of Law James Concannon of Washburn University Law School; Dr. Barbara Baker, Director of Multicultural Affairs at Emporia State University; Kenneth Buechel, Citizen member of the Emporia Judicial Nominating Commission; and Debra Huth, President of the Lyon/Chase County Bar Association.
League of Women Voters of the United States staff David Ward, Specialist, and Zaida Arguedas, Senior Director, wrote an article on the “Quest for a More Diverse Judiciary” campaign published in Vol. 93, No. 5 (March- April 2010) of the American Judicature Society’s flagship journal, Judicature.
Date: April 16, 2010
Location: Crestview United Methodist Church, Topeka, Kansas
Partners: Crestview United Methodist Church
League of Women Voters of Topeka/Shawnee County President Gwen Elliott spoke about judicial diversity to a group of United Methodist Women, active at the Methodist Conference level.
Date: April 14, 2010
Location: Dining Hall, Stevens Center, St. John’s Military School, Salina, Kansas
Partners: Salina Journal; Salina Media Group; Salina Women Attorneys Group; American Association of University Women (AAUW); Saline-Ottawa County Bar Association
Kansas Supreme Court Justice Eric S. Rosen presented in place of Justice Carol Beier as keynote speaker of the Salina League of Women Voters Annual Meeting. He spoke about the everyday value of judicial diversity on the bench, and why diversity should be important to even those who are not considered diverse themselves.