Judge Holds Kobach In Contempt Of Court

Secretary of State Kris Kobach talks with a reporter in his office in Topeka Kan. Wednesday

Orlin Wagner AP

A federal judge has found Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach in contempt of court for disobeying a court order in a case testing that state's controversial proof-of-citizenship voting law.

In a court order, U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson tore into Kobach for failing to send postcards notifying thousands of voters of their registration...

Robinson's ruling asked Kobach to pay for the attorney's fees for the litigation of the motion. Robinson stated Kobach failed to follow her order to treat voters impacted by the proof-of citizenship law like other voters and send them the standard postcards about their registration.

Kobach argued during a hearing in March that he was not in contempt in part because a preliminary injunction Robinson issued in May 2016 and a later written order did not explicitly require sending the postcards and revisions to the state's election guide. In 2016, plaintiffs successfully won an preliminary injunction against the "Kansas Documentary Proof of Citizenship" law, which, as you can tell from the title, required proof of citizenship.

Kobach has also made unsubstantiated claims about voter fraud. Rather than correcting information in the online election manual, Kobach removed it from the secretary of state's website.

In her contempt finding, Robinson said that Kobach had "disingenuously suggested that he had insufficient time" after her May order to comply.

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Kobach was previously fined $1,000 by the court past year after Robinson had concluded he had tried to mislead the court about documents related to a 2016 meeting with Trump.

Kobach assured Robinson he is going to get the voters registered and send postcards to any affected voters but the postcards were never sent, which are responsible for informing voters of their polling stations.

Earlier in the case, contempt proceedings against him that had been scheduled before the 2016 election were halted after Kobach agreed to allow thousands of voters to cast traditional ballots, rather than force them to use provisional ones. But it was Kobach's "confusing notices, and his patent failure to fully inform and monitor compliance" with her order that "caused confusion and misinformation", she wrote. "Kobach's steady string of self-promotional partisan maneuvers and costly taxpayer funded lawsuits illustrate his overwhelming unfitness to be the next governor of Kansas".

Kobach could be your front-running Republican candidate for Kansas Parliament, even with ongoing legal battles over the voter registration legislation he has sought to apply as their country's election. Kobach's office said after the trial that it had given written orders to the county officials to send the postcards, but Robinson said on Wednesday that was "too little, too late".

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