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Topic: Kansas Court of Appeals

John Carlin, Kansas

Interview of John Carlin, June 14, 2019

Interviewed by H. Edward (Ed) Flentje
This 2019 interview focuses on the experiences of John Carlin during his legislative career in the House of Representative from 1971-1978 where he led his caucus to achieve the majority party status, and his becoming only the second Democratic House speaker in the 20th Century. The interview contains anecdotes about his experiences in 4-H which he believes developed his leadership skills as well as the issues he embraced during his terms in the House. Carlin also candidly discusses the challenges he faced in working to overturn a veto of a governor of his party. Issues discussed in this interview included Show Moreprisons, the death penalty, reorganizing government, due process for teachers, court unification, centralization of the welfare system at the state level and the politics of roads and transportation. Carlin points to livestock judging as training for making decisions. Carlin believes learning to make fast, accurate decisions contributed to his political success. 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 with Justice Ed Larson by Richard Ross, November 4, 2022

Interviewed by Ross Richard
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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