Supreme Court Applicant: Steve A. Leben

This post originally appeared at The Kansas Progress, before this blog went live.

Steve Leben, is a member of the Kansas Court of Appeals, to which position he was appointed in 2007 by Governor Sebelius. Previously he was a District Judge in the 10th Judicial District since 1993. Leben lives in Fairway. He received his law degree from KU, where he also took his undergraduate degree and was student body president. Leben retains ties to KU Law where he teaches a course on Statutory Interpretation.

Additionally, he was president of the American Judges Association, editor of Court Review (a journal for judges) and author of several law review articles and other publications. He has been recognized by the National Center for State Courts for his contribution to the improvement of the justice system. He even shows up on a review at Amazon.com.

Politically speaking, Leben has made no contributions, but according to the Kansas Meadowlark he has switched party affiliation between Democrat and Republican more than once and his wife Ann Warner was a member of ‘Republicans for Moore’ in 2004. In December of 2007 he co-wrote an article in the Seattle Times criticizing Mitt Romney for an attack he had made on one of his own appointees. In all fairness, Romney’s attack was driven not so much by legal theory as by an attempt to insulate himself from blame for that judge’s release of a prisoner awaiting trial who subsequently absconded and murdered two people in Washington state.

The criticism of Romney is a hook on which the article hangs but it goes on to detail an issue which Leben and his co-author have published other works: the notion of procedural fairness in the justice system. This idea goes beyond traditional due process constraints (based around ensuring that all receive a fair and equal treatment under the law) and is concerned with ensuring that all who are involved in the justice system have the perception of a fair hearing as well. If Leben is appointed to the Supreme Court this would be expected to be an area of especial focus for him.

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