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Topic: Kansas Supreme Court

Dick Bond, Kansas

Interview of Richard (Dick) Bond, September 6, 2019

Interviewed by Joan Wagnon
Former Senate President Dick Bond candidly discusses his 14 year career in the Kansas Senate which followed a 25 year career in Washington DC as chief of staff for 3 congressmen. Well known in Kansas Republican circles, Bond was appointed to fill a vacancy when Senator Jack Walker became Lieutenant Governor. Bond compares the politics of Washington to Kansas. He saw the passage of liquor-by-the-drink as a boon to economic development. Bond is most proud of the renovation to the Kansas Capitol which was started under his term as President of the Kansas Senate. He Show Morereflected on the changes in the Republican party in recent years and the role the Right to Life movement played in those changes. Show Less
Senator Fred Kerr

Interview of Fred Kerr, March 30, 2015

Interviewed by Burdett Loomis
This is the first of two oral history interviews of Fred Kerr in this collection. (Ed Flentje conducted the second interview 2018.) Kerr reflects on his 15 years in the Kansas Senate representing the 33rd Senate district. He recalls Senate leaders and fellow Senators who helped him as a freshman and the influence of those mentors on his career. Fred talks extensively about the process involved in securing a leadership position in the Senate and the dynamics of leadership races. He also reflects on the urban-rural divide in Kansas politics that during the late Show More1970s and early to mid 1980s was often more of a force than the partisan divide. A version of this interview is also posted on KansasMemory.org, the website of the Kansas Historical Society. A more recent oral history interview of Fred Kerr is here. Show Less
Chief Justice Lawton Nuss

Interview of Lawton Nuss, July 27, 2022

Interviewed by Richard Ross
Retired Chief Justice Lawton Nuss describes his attempts to be appointed to the Court of Appeals (he was not) and to the Supreme Court. Nuss served as Acting Chief during the illness of Chief Justice Davis. After becoming Chief Justice in 2010 he became the chief spokesman and administrator for the entire judicial branch of nearly 1600 employees and 250 judges. In 2014-15 he appointed a Court Budget Advisory committee to help resolve an eight million dollar budget shortfall. He discussed at length the legislative reaction to the Gannon v State school finance case which was Show Morefiled in 2010 and not finally resolved until 2019. Nuss describes his work with the conservative leadership in the state legislature, and a conservative governor, and their attempts to gain more control over the courts. He dealt with budget shortfalls that resulted in closing the courts; attempts to elect rather than appoint judges; and threats to change the role of the courts in the constitution. Nuss was a vigorous defender of the judicial system's independence against legislative interference. He cited the Supreme Court’s Solomon case which essentially answered the question, "‘Should the judicial branch have to give away some of its power granted directly by the people in their Constitution in order to get funding from the legislature.” The court's decisions on school finance continued to provoke the legislature during his tenure. Show Less

Interview of Ed Larson, November 4, 2022

Interviewed by Richard Ross
This interview of longtime Kansas lawyer and jurist, the Honorable Ed Larson, gives a clear understanding of the workings of both Kansas Court of Appeals and the Kansas Supreme Court. Joining the appellate court in 1987 as a general practice lawyer exposed him to many more criminal cases than he had seen in his practice in Hays. He liked the court's practice of traveling around the state for hearings. Larson believed that solving the problems of individuals was the most important work they did, although there were many high-profile cases such as the sale of Blue Cross Show MoreBlue Shield to an out-state company. Larson is a supporter of merit selection for judges and credits the availability of the retirement system for judges with allowing judges to retire with dignity and benefits. Show Less
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