Kansas Senators Want Judge Investigated Over Partisan Tweets

May 17, 2019

Kansas senators rejected the promotion of a district judge to the state appeals court because of a series of partisan tweets he sent. Now they're asking an oversight commission to look into Judge Jeffry Jack’s actions.

In a letter, the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee is asking the Commission on Judicial Conduct to review whether the tweets calling for gun control and criticizing President Trump violate judicial policies.

Jamila Jefferson-Jones is a law professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. She said the tweets likely violate judicial rules requiring the appearance of impartiality.

“And that’s the problem," she said. "It may appear to the public, to a lay person, that he is not impartial.”

However, she believes the partisan tweets aren’t enough to prompt serious discipline, such as Jack’s removal from the bench.

“Especially because his comments were not comments on a pending case,” she said. “They were not comments on a case that was before him or before his court.”

Jack has said despite the tweets he continued to be fair and impartial in his rulings.

If the panel recommends discipline that would ultimately be decided by the Kansas Supreme Court.

Stephen Koranda is Statehouse reporter for Kansas Public Radio and the Kansas News Service, a collaboration of KCUR, Kansas Public Radio, KMUW and High Plains Public Radio covering health, education and politics. Follow him on Twitter @kprkoranda.

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