Cowley Courier-Traveler: Adhering to ‘rules’ key, justices say
After presentations in Arkansas City and Winfield on Wednesday, Kansas Supreme Court justices Dan Biles and Caleb Stegall stopped by the CourierTraveler office in Winfield for further discussion about the court and their jobs.
Neither Biles nor Stegall went to law school directly after earning an undergraduate degree.
Biles took a time off and became an Associated Press reporter in Topeka covering state government, a job he kept while attending law school. Biles said being a journalist taught him how to write on a deadline and how the three branches of government work together, skills that have helped his law career.
Stegall spent his early 20s teaching science and math at a private school in Lawrence. Law enforcement careers run in the family, so becoming a lawyer was a natural fit.
When asked how the justices put their own views aside to make rulings, Stegall said he reflects on the Kansas Judicial Code, which includes a passage on keeping one’s personal politics out of judicial decisions. He also relies on the traditional tools of the judiciary, such as rules of statutory construction.
“The founding basis of the judiciary is keeping politics out,” said Stegall.
According to Biles, there are “rules of the road” when making decisions that, if followed, will prevent a justice from getting hung up on personal politics.