Sedgwick County District Judge Tony Powell’s high-profile past as an anti-abortion lawmaker makes him the wrong person to sit in judgment of the George Tiller abortion case. He should recuse himself, we argue in today’s editorial.
The issue isn’t just that Powell helped write the legislation he must now rule on; it’s not unusual for former lawmakers to become judges. But this legislation specifically targeted Tiller and his Wichita clinic. And Powell made negative statements at the time directed at Tiller, who is now the defendant in his court.
Presumably these are among the reasons why Tiller’s attorneys formally asked Monday for a new presiding judge.
Powell is capable of putting aside his personal and political views and ruling on the merits of the case. But why, in such a high-profile, emotional case, would the court system invite public doubt about judicial objectivity?
Posted by Randy Scholfield
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