In a letter obtained by the Kansas City Star and also sent to various people across the state, Barton County Circuit Court Judge Charles Curless ripped Rep. Ed Emery on his criticism of so-called "activist judges" and for his stance that Aquila should be allowed to maintain a plant it built in Cass County in direct violation of the county's zoning laws.
The letter reads:
Ed, Congratulations on reaching an all-time low in your so-called "representation" of the 126th District.
I am, of course, referring to your incredibly scandalous preferential treatment of the folks at Aquila, regarding the unlawful power plant in Cass County. Aquila knowingly built a plant in that county without a permit and in violation of county zoning laws. The trial court ordered the plant dismantled, and his decision was upheld by the Western District Court of Appeals. Now, you have led the charge in approving legislation to overturn the lawful and correct decisions of the courts. I wonder if your ruminations on the situation would have brought you to the same conclusion (to adjudicate from the legislature) had the plant been in your backyard. You certainly must be aware that the vast majority of us who, unfortunately, live within your district are respectful of the rule of law, and are disdainful of activist legislation, such as that which you have ramrodded through the House Special Committee on Utilities. Although I suppose we should not be surprised at your abhorrent actions in this situation after enduring incessant, baseless attacks on the judges of this state, and after six long years of your trying to undermine the constitutional provision of checks and balances by making the judicial branch subject to the political whims of the legislative and executive branches, it is deeply disturbing to see what is happening under your watchful eye.
Perhaps the most interesting and telling evidence of your true colors is your statement regarding your actions in committee, and I quote: "You have two competing principles involved. One is the principle that they should follow the law. The other is the principle of logic."
What in God’s name are you thinking? You have railed, both in your weekly "report" and in many orations, about how judges must follow the law. Now we find that it is your opinion that your friends at this powerful corporation, Aquila, are above the law, and that when it comes to your friends, "logic" trumps the law. Who else’s pocket are you in?
It seems to me that as you go about the area selling your "Character First" program, you should include this dichotomous anecdote in the "Integrity" chapter, or maybe use it to start another chapter entitled "Shame and Dishonor". "Character First", indeed.
You have pulled many boneheaded stunts during your time in the legislature which are contrary to the interests and wishes of the citizens of this district, but this one gets the blue ribbon.