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Court of Appeals judge wins national award

Thursday, January 29, 2015   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Beth Warrington
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Kansas Court of Appeals Judge Karen Arnold-Burger has been selected by the ABA Judicial Division Lawyers Conference to receive the Burnham "Hod” Greeley Award for her work to increase public awareness of the need for a fair and impartial judiciary.


Arnold-Burger said she is looking forward to receiving the award Friday, February 6, during the American Bar Association’s midyear meeting in Houston.


Judge Karen Arnold-Burger

"I’m thrilled and honored to be selected by a panel of my peers to receive this award for doing what I can to help people understand why it’s so important that we have fair and impartial courts,” Arnold-Burger said.


Arnold-Burger was nominated for the award Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss, who noted the judge’s work with the Informed Voter Project developed and promoted by the National Association of Women Judges and for serving as chair of the Kansas Supreme Court’s Court Budget Advisory Council.


"Judge Arnold-Burger consistently devotes considerable personal time to civic initiatives that help people understand the role of the judiciary and the critical importance of fair and impartial courts,” Nuss said. "Her work with the Informed Voter Project has taken her to communities all across Kansas to speak to groups on these topics in general and retention elections in particular.”


Nuss also noted Arnold-Burger’s work as chair of the Court Budget Advisory Council, which the Supreme Court formed in 2013 to develop and prioritize recommendations if the 2014 Legislature did not supplement the approved fiscal year 2015 judicial branch budget. The council met its challenge within the six weeks it was allotted, but Arnold-Burger’s work didn’t end there. She went on to appear before House and Senate subcommittees to report the council’s findings.


A Court of Appeals colleague, Judge Steve Leben, also provided a letter supporting Arnold-Burger’s nomination.


"When I saw the criteria for the award and read about Mr. Greeley’s strong commitment to promoting public trust and confidence in the judicial system, I thought that Karen was the perfect choice,” Leben wrote. "Still a junior member of our court, she does more public presentations (to lawyers, judges, and the public) than anyone else, and she also does the work of an appellate judge at 100 percent.”


Before she was appointed to the Court of Appeals in 2011, Arnold-Burger was municipal court judge and then presiding municipal court judge in Overland Park, assistant U.S. attorney in Kansas City, Kansas, and first assistant city attorney for the City of Overland Park. She is a graduate of the University of Kansas School of Law, where she serves on the Board of Governors.


Her professional accomplishments include serving as president of the Johnson County Bar Association, the Kansas Municipal Judges Association, and the Earl E. O’Connor Inn of Court. She has been an adjunct faculty member at the National Judicial College since 2000 and was elected by fellow faculty to serve on the Faculty Council beginning in 2010. She is a graduate of the Institute for Faculty Excellence in Judicial Education at the University of Memphis and is a frequent presenter at judicial education programs nationwide.


She’s received many awards, including the Justinian Award for Professional Excellence by the Johnson County Bar Association, which is given annually to an attorney who exemplifies integrity, service to the community, and service to the legal profession. Others include the Outstanding Service Award from the Kansas Bar Association; the Kay McFarland Award from the Women Attorneys Association of Topeka; and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration National Public Safety Award.


She designed a judicial outreach project, "A Wrong of Passage,” that is used by judges all over the country and has grown into an organization that focuses community support on the issue of underage drinking. She was awarded the Regional Prevention Center Founder’s Award in 2008 and a scholarship was named after her.