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Monday, April 14, 2014

Voters retain all 4 Kansas Supreme Court justices

BY HURST LAVIANA
The Wichita Eagle

An effort by abortion opponents to oust at least one Kansas Supreme Court justice failed Tuesday as all four justices on the ballot were retained by voters.

The anti-abortion group Kansans for Life campaigned against Justice Carol Beier because of majority opinions she wrote in 2006 and 2008 cases.

With two-thirds of precincts reporting, 63 percent of voters said Beier should be retained in office.

Beier has served on the court since September 2003 and was retained by voters in 2004, with more than 76 percent voting yes.

The two majority opinions written by Beier in abortion cases dealt with issues arising from former Attorney General Phill Kline's investigation of abortion providers, first as attorney general and later as Johnson County district attorney.

On the ballot with Beier were justices Dan Biles, Marla Luckert and Lawton Nuss. All received yes votes of 62 percent or more.

Kansas Supreme Court justices are appointed by the governor but must ask voters every six years to keep them on the bench.

Organized campaigns against Supreme Court justices have been rare since Kansas abandoned partisan elections for the court in 1960. Since then, no justice has failed to win retention with less than two-thirds of the vote.

Contributing: Associated Press Reach Hurst Laviana at 316-268-6499 or hlaviana@wichitaeagle.com.

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