Court Hears Case of Judicial Questionnaires

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - The Kansas Supreme Court is being asked to decide whether a judge or candidate for the bench violates the canons of ethics by answering questionnaires.

Attorneys said Friday that the issue pits the free speech rights of judges with the due process rights of those who may appear in their courtroom.

The issue surfaced in 2006 when Kansas Judicial Watch sought to ask judges questions about their personal beliefs and positions on certain issues. A federal judge in Topeka issued an injunction blocking the enforcement of the ethics provisions by the Kansas Commission on Judicial Qualifications, which appealed the decision.

However, the federal appeals court in Denver requested the Kansas state court clarify the provisions before it considered the appeal.

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