Students at Kansas Wesleyan University had a unique opportunity Friday afternoon to discuss civics with what was described as a “distinguished panel of Kansans” that included two former Kansas Governors, two sitting Kansas Supreme Court Justices, and a retired Kansas Supreme Court Justice.
The roundtable discussion, hosted by the Saline County Bar Association, featured former governors John Carlin and Bill Graves, supreme court justices Lawton Nuss and Marla Luckert, and retired supreme court justice Ed Larson. The purpose of the event was to discuss the importance of the separation of powers between the executive, legislative, and judicial branch of government and the non-partisan selection of judges.
Governor Graves, a Salina native and KWU graduate, told KSAL News that it is important to understand why there needs to be a separation of powers, and what is at stake in the November election. He said that the state’s courts need to remain independent and impartial.
Voters in November will determine whether five of the seven Kansas Supreme Court Justices receive another six-year term. They are Chief Justice Lawton Nuss and Justices Carol Beier, Dan Biles, Marla Luckert and Caleb Stegall. Conservatives are targeting all of them except Stegall. He is Republican Gov. Sam Brownback’s only appointee.
Carlin and Graves are among four former Kansas governors who have launched a bipartisan campaign to retain the Kansas Supreme Court justices in November’s election. That group says it wants to keep the state’s courts independent.