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Update: Kansas governor withdraws nomination for state appeals court

March 19, 2019 - 10:59 am

Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly has withdrawn a trial-court judge's nomination to Kansas' second-highest court in the face of opposition in the Republican-controlled state Senate.

Kelly's decision Tuesday came only a day after Senate President and Wichita Republican Susan Wagle predicted that nominee Jeffry Jack would not be confirmed to the Kansas Court of Appeals.

Republicans decried posts on Jack's Twitter feed in 2017 that criticized President Donald Trump and expressed support for gun control and abortion rights. Some contained vulgar language.

Jack has been a district judge in Labette County in southeast Kansas since 2005 and previously served in the Kansas House. Kelly said she was surprised and disappointed that a judge would engage in such rhetoric.

Jack says he was expressing personal opinions that do not influence his work on the bench.

In a statement Tuesday, Judge Jack also criticized Wagle for opposing his confirmation to the Kansas Court of Appeals before he had a hearing.

Jack said his tweets were "anti-violence, anti-discrimination and anti-hypocrisy." He said he assumed he was expressing personal opinions to a small group of followers and did not understand that his tweets were accessible to the public.

An anti-abortion group influential in Kansas politics has called on Jack to step down.

Kansans for Life said Tuesday that Democratic Gov. Kelly's decision to withdraw her nomination of Judge Jack for the state's second-highest court is a good first step.

But Executive Director Mary Kay Culp said the group believes Jack also should resign from his current position of Labette County district judge.

Jack asked to have his name withdrawn Monday night after Republicans predicted he would not be confirmed by the GOP-controlled state Senate.


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