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U.S. Senate confirms Kansas solicitor general to federal bench

By: - November 17, 2020 9:18 pm
U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, a Kansas Republican, praised nomination of Kansas solicitor general Toby Crouse for appointment to the U.S. District Court in Kansas. His nomination was affirmed 50-43. (Image from C-SPAN2/Kansas Reflector)

U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, a Kansas Republican, praised nomination of Kansas solicitor general Toby Crouse for appointment to the U.S. District Court in Kansas. His nomination was affirmed 50-43. (Image from C-SPAN2/Kansas Reflector)

TOPEKA — The U.S. Senate voted to confirm the nomination Kansas solicitor general Toby Crouse to fill a vacancy on the U.S. District Court.

Crouse, an Overland Park attorney who has served as solictor general for nearly three years, was nominated by President Donald Trump in May to fill the vacancy created by resignation of controversial Judge Carlos Murguia.

The U.S. Senate voted 50-43 on Tuesday to confirm Crouse. That action followed a Senate committee vote of 12-10 in support of his nomination.

U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, a Kansas Republican, said Crouse was a skilled attorney who demonstrated respect for the rule of law in private practice, in service to Kansas as solicitor general and in the role of clerk to U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Mary Briscoe and U.S. District Court Judge Monti Belot.

“He is well-qualified for this appointment,” Moran said. “We need good, solid judges to interpret the Constitution in ways that enforce the law and provide justice and equity.”

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said Crouse distinguished himself while overseeing the state’s appellate litigation as solicitor general. His work included three Kansas cases argued successfully last year before the U.S. Supreme Court.

“I am confident his perspective on the appropriate role and authority of federal courts is firmly grounded in the text and original meaning of the U.S. Constitution and statutory law as Congress has written it,” the Republican attorney general said.

Vanita Gupta, president and chief executive officer of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, sent a September letter to U.S. senators urging to vote against Crouse’s nomination.

“Mr. Crouse is a right-wing ideologue who, as solicitor general of Kansas for the past three years, has filed brief after brief attempting to undermine core civil and human rights,” Gupta said.

She said Crouse defended laws and policies to restrict voting rights, LGBTQ equality, reproductive freedom, immigrant justice, and gun safety. She said Crouse conducted oral argument in federal appellate court in defense of the state’s proof-of-citizenship voter registration law. The statute was struck down in 2018 by a federal district court judge and the appeals court affirmed that ruling.

Crouse also represented Kansas in an attempt to defund Planned Parenthood by terminating its Medicaid contracts, which allow Planned Parenthood clinics to provide contraception, cancer screenings and other health care services. The 10th Circuit rejected Kansas’ arguments and Crouse’s petition to the U.S. Supreme Court was denied.

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Tim Carpenter
Tim Carpenter

Tim Carpenter has reported on Kansas for 35 years. He covered the Capitol for 16 years at the Topeka Capital-Journal and previously worked for the Lawrence Journal-World and United Press International. He has been recognized for investigative reporting on Kansas government and politics. He won the Kansas Press Association's Victor Murdock Award six times. The William Allen White Foundation honored him four times with its Burton Marvin News Enterprise Award. The Kansas City Press Club twice presented him its Journalist of the Year Award and more recently its Lifetime Achievement Award. He earned an agriculture degree at Kansas State University and grew up on a small dairy and beef cattle farm in Missouri. He is an amateur woodworker and drives Studebaker cars.

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