Attorney general negotiates reduction in Kobach court sanctions

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Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt announced Tuesday night that he negotiated a reduction in the attorney’s fees that former Secretary of State Kris Kobach was ordered to pay for being held in contempt of court.

Derek Schmidt

Schmidt had appealed the sanctions handed down by U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson, who held Kobach in contempt as he defended the state’s law requiring proof-of-citizenship for prospective voters. Robinson struck down the law and the case is now on appeal at the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Schmidt said he negotiated a settlement of $20,000 instead of the $26,214.79 that Kobach had been ordered to pay the American Civil Liberties Union in legal fees and expenses. The secretary of state’s office will pay the fees. The appeal of the sanctions against Kobach has now been in dropped in exchange for the reduced fees.

Meanwhile, Schmidt said he would push forward with the appeal of the proof-of-citizenship  case. Schmidt said the appeal is fully briefed before the 10th Circuit with oral arguments scheduled for March 18.

“The bottom line is that a state statute, which was duly enacted by large bipartisan majorities in the Kansas Legislature, has been declared invalid by a federal court,” Schmidt said in a statement.

“As long as the Legislature leaves that law on the books, we think the state’s authority to enact the statute requiring documentary proof of citizenship to register to vote deserves a full and vigorous legal defense.”