The Kansas Supreme Court promptly gave the Democratic party what it wanted last Thursday when it ordered the name of the party’s U.S. Senate nominee, Chad Taylor, removed from the ballot. So why isn’t the court acting just as promptly in dealing with the issue of a replacement for Taylor on the ballot?
The timeline for what has happened in Kansas is clear. On September 9th, Chad Taylor filed his writ of mandamus with the court asking that his name be removed. Only two days later on September 11th, the Kansas Supreme Court issued a scheduling order setting Monday, September 15 as the deadline for secretary of state Kris Kobach to file a response to the writ, and September 16 for oral arguments. On September 18, within two days of the oral arguments, the court issued its order resolving the matter and removing Taylor from the official ballot.
But as outlined in a previous NRO article, a second writ of mandamus was filed with the court on September 18th almost immediately after the removal order was issued. The second writ requests an order from the court telling the Kansas Democratic party to name a replacement for Taylor on the ballot as required by Kansas law, something the state party does not want to do and has said it will not do absent a court order.
We are now at five days and counting since the second writ was filed, and the Kansas Supreme Court, which is dominated by judges nominated by former Democratic governor Kathleen Sebelius, has not acted on the writ. This is in sharp contrast to its having issued a scheduling order within two days of receiving the first writ. When it issued that initial scheduling order, the court noted the “expedited nature of this case and the necessity for an authoritative ruling.”
This second writ is obviously in just as much need of expedition and an “authoritative ruling” from the court. But of course, this second writ is one that the Kansas Democratic party would like to see ignored completely or handled as slowly as possible, until it becomes too late for the court to intervene.
So the question for the Kansas Supreme Court is very simple: Are you going to handle this second writ as you should and why the delay? Are you going to avoid acting on the writ, even if doing so allows the Democratic party to violate Kansas law and manipulate the candidate-slating process for political advantage?