FACT Files Kansas Judicial Ethics Complaint
Updated: Mar 19, 2019
FACT filed a complaint today with the Kansas Commission of Judicial Qualifications, requesting the Commission investigate State Supreme Court Justice Carol Beier for her apparent breach of the Code of Judicial Conduct. Under the Judicial Code of Conduct, a judge is required to uphold the independence, integrity, and impartiality of the judiciary and is prohibited from engaging in any political activity. Justice Beier has reportedly acted contrary to these ethical standard.
In 2014, a political fundraiser was held at Justice Beier’s private residence to benefit then-candidate for governor, Paul Davis. In the past, the Kansas Commission of Judicial Qualifications found a factually identical scenario, where a judge’s spouse held a political event at their home, to be a breach of Cannon 1 and Cannon 4 of the Code of Judicial Conduct. Even though the judge in that case reportedly was not involved in the event hosted by the judge’s spouse, the Commission was very clear that it “may well be viewed by the general public as a political endorsement by the judge himself of a candidate for public office.”
“Justice Beier needs to be held accountable for her careless behavior because even the mere appearance of impropriety calls into question her impartiality and erodes the public’s trust in our government,” said Matthew Whitaker, Executive Director of the Foundation for Accountability & Civic Trust.”
Judges are held to high ethics standards, and are prohibited from taking any actions that would appear to be an implied endorsement. It is necessary that the Commission act to hold Justice Beier accountable for her ethical violation.