On multiple occasions, U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson has interrupted questioning to walk Kobach and his crew of lawyers through the intricacies of moves such as admitting evidence and asking witnesses about previous depositions. Robinson, an appointee of President George W. Bush, has even instructed Kansas’ attorneys on the correct ways to phrase their questions.
Rather than rely on the representation of the Kansas Attorney General’s office, Kobach has opted to represent himself, with the assistance of other attorneys in his office. They haven’t exactly given the impression of crack litigators.
The first hang-up occurred even before the opening statements Tuesday, when Kobach sought to introduce a demonstrative exhibit. Lawyers for the ACLU objected, as they had only been emailed the exhibit at 10:43 p.m. the night before, well after a 24-hour deadline before trial started that the judge imposed.
“The whole point of that is so everyone knows what they’re working with,” Robinson said.
Later Tuesday, Sue Becker, an attorney in Kobach’s office, received a brief lecture from Robinson on “evidence 101.” Robinson’s consternation came as Becker was cross-examining Donna Bucci, a challenger in the case. The judge knocked Becker for not laying the foundation for evidence before presenting it during the cross-examination.
“Evidence 101 — not going to do it,” Robinson said. “We’re going to follow the rules of evidence.”