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The Latest: Senate leader: Judge’s tweets should be reviewed

March 19, 2019

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Latest on Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly withdrawing a nominee for the Kansas Court of Appeals over political posts on his Twitter feed (all times local):

5:23 p.m.

The Kansas Senate’s top leader says a judicial ethics commission should review the conduct of a judge whose political Twitter posts sunk his nomination for the state Court of Appeals.

Senate President Susan Wagle said Tuesday that she is considering filing a complaint herself against Labette County District Judge Jeffry Jack.

Wagle said the Commission on Judicial Qualifications should consider whether Jack’s tweets in 2017 violated a rule in the code of conduct for judges saying they should act in ways that promotes public confidence in their impartiality.

Jack’s tweets criticized President Donald Trump and expressed support for abortion rights and gun control. Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly withdrew his nomination Tuesday for the appeals court.

Jack defended his tweets as personal opinions that didn’t affect his work on the bench.

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1:15 p.m.

A Kansas judge whose Twitter feed sunk his nomination to the state’s second-highest court says he was expressing personal opinions that do not influence his work on the bench.

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

His Twitter page showed hundreds of tweets and retweets from 2017 that criticized President Donald Trump and expressed support for gun control and abortion rights. Some included vulgar language.

Kelly withdrew Jack’s nomination Tuesday.

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.

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12:45 p.m.

An anti-abortion group influential in Kansas politics has called on a trial-court judge to step down after political posts on his Twitter feed sunk his nomination for the Kansas Court of Appeals.

Kansans for Life said Tuesday that Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s decision to withdraw her nomination of Judge Jeffry 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’s Twitter page included posts from 2017 criticizing President Donald Trump and expressing support for gun control and abortion rights. Some used vulgar language.

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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10:25 a.m.

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 did not immediately return a telephone message to his office seeking comment.

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