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Chief justice talks about media coverage


Special to The Hays Daily News

Special to The Hays Daily News

TOPEKA -- Kansas Supreme Court Chief Justice Lawton Nuss was in Boston on Friday to participate as a panelist in the American Bar Association's "Fourth Annual Forum on Judicial Independence: How Lawyers, Judges, and the Public are Influenced by Media Coverage of the Courts."

"It is an honor to be invited by the American Bar Association to sit on this esteemed panel and offer my perspectives on the Kansas judiciary's interactions with the media," Nuss said. "My experiences may be unique to Kansas, but the theme of open, transparent courts is universal."

The forum is part of the ABA's annual meeting and was organized by the association's Standing Committee on Judicial Independence to offer continuing legal education credits to attorneys and judges who attend.

The entire panel will discuss media coverage of high-profile cases, controversial court decisions, and open courts, as well as media access to court information and the legal standards with which judges, lawyers, and the media should be familiar.

Nuss will speak about challenges judges face when public or political backlash stems from court decisions, the importance of the media understanding the judiciary's role, and ethical rules that guide judicial speech.

"I also bring to the panel my experiences with the media related to policy decisions that affect the Kansas judicial branch," Nuss said. "In my administrative capacity, I occasionally speak about how policy decisions impact our state court system. The media play an essential role delivering those messages to the people of Kansas."

The panel moderator is Charles Bierbauer, who is an Emmy-Award winning journalist and Dean of the University of South Carolina College of Mass Communications and Information Studies. He previously served as the CNN Pentagon correspondent, Supreme Court correspondent, and senior White House correspondent.

Also on the panel are Marsha V. Kazarosian, president-elect of the Massachusetts Bar Association, Wesley Lowery, a political reporter with The Washington Post, and Shira A. Scheindlin, federal district court judge of the southern district of New York.