Two court hearings in Topeka could affect far more than the cases themselves. At 9:30 a.m. Wednesday the full Kansas Court of Appeals will hear the state’s appeal of the lower court decision striking down a ban on a common second-trimester abortion procedure, potentially putting all 14 judges on record regarding whether the Kansas Constitution guarantees abortion rights. Then at 9 a.m. Thursday the state Supreme Court – minus Chief Justice Lawton Nuss, who recused himself Monday – will consider the state law that would alter how district court judges are chosen and, if the law were struck down, void all judicial funding. The latter case could set off a constitutional crisis, and both could set up highly contentious appellate judge retention elections in 2016. – Rhonda Holman
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