December 01st, 2023
L&T Opinions Page

larry phillips mugshotGUEST COLUMN, Larry Phillips, Kismet


The left-leaning newspapers in Kansas have found a new “Big-Government” campaign wagon to jump onto – bigger salaries for 1,600 judicial branch employees.


The lead dog on this drive is the Wichita Eagle. Of course, the Topeka Capital-Journal is on the team, too. 

And the team leader both papers are being led down the trail by is none other than the activist Chief Justice of the Kansas Supreme Court; the “Honorable” Lawton Nuss.


The Justice Branch got $136 million last year, and you would think it was the end of the world for all those poor employees. It was noted in a Capital-Journal report employees got a 2-percent raise two years ago, but health insurance has eaten that up – leaving them destitute.


“‘It’s way past time for this to happen,’ (Nuss) said, referring to increased wages.”


That’s a laugh when you consider Nuss is the ring leader in telling the legislature how much to spend on education – a clear constitutional violation of the separation of powers. 


Just watch him, he’ll find a way to extort the legislature to increase the budget for the Judicial Branch. 


Why stop at interfering in the Legislative Branch at only education?


The Eagle used some phoney poll paid for by Nuss and found this: “Overall, Kansas ranks next to last on a list of best-paying states for court jobs before a cost-of-living adjustment. And it fares only slightly better with the adjustment included: 45th out of 50, the study found.”


And you should see the lists of all the torment these employees go through. The Eagle reported this: “The starting pay for the (beginninging court) positions: $11.80 an hour. As Nuss noted in his address, it’s only slightly higher than Walmart’s new starting wage of $11.”


Does Nuss know how many people would love to have a starting pay of $11.80 an hour? 


Or just love to have a job?


Of course not. Nuss is a man full of himself, and he’s been politically campaigning like no other state Supreme Court Judge in the nation. It’s shameful.


You should see the lists of unfairness and the sob stories the press has dug up – like this one by the Eagle: “One employee and her children eat at the Lord’s Diner – which offers a free hot meal once daily – several times a week so she can buy gasoline to get to work, said James Fleetwood, chief judge for Sedgwick County District Court.”


But that’s not close to the best Grab-Their-Heart sob story. Check this one: “Another, a mother of two who has worked for the state for 18 years, eats only twice a day so her kids have enough on their plates.”


Funny, but the Eagle did report what judges earn – noting the poor fellas and gals got their last raise in 2009.


“District judges are generally making about $125,000, and Supreme Court justices make about $140,000, according to KanView, the state’s spending database,” reported the Eagle, and it noted, “… Kansas has approximately 250 judges and justices.”


What if they gave up about 30 percent of that and gave it to all these poor, malnourished, hitch-hiking state employees?


During my 67 years on Earth, if one doesn’t like their job and the pay – find another one or get a better education or training.


But activist Nuss is using his judicial branch leadership to campaign on every issue. Maybe he should hire a permanent campaign manager – if he hasn’t already. Several other Supreme Court justices did hire managers when they were facing re-election. And it worked – they got re-elected.


Not enough voters in the state pay attention to what the Judicial Branch has done to this state – and how its interfered in the state’s financial woes. 


A majority of unconstitutional bullies rule the state’s highest court, and until the voters get off their backsides and get involved, these justices will milk Kansas dry with their legislation from the bench.


How disgusting.


And where are our elected legislators who have failed to correct this illegitimate usurption of power?



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