|31st Secretary of State of Kansas|
January 10, 2011
|Preceded by||Chris Biggs|
|Born||Kris W. Kobach
March 26, 1966
|Residence||Kansas City, Kansas|
|Alma mater||Harvard College,
Yale Law School,
University of Oxford
Kris W. Kobach (born March 26, 1966) is the Secretary of State of Kansas. He is also currently of counsel with the Immigration Law Reform Institute, the legal arm of the Federation for American Immigration Reform.
He is a former chairman of Kansas Republican Party and city councilman in Overland Park, Kansas. He ran unsuccessfully for Kansas's 3rd congressional district in 2004. In 2010, Kobach was elected Secretary of State of Kansas.
Kobach graduated from Washburn Rural High School in Topeka, Kansas in 1984. Four years later, he earned an A.B. (summa cum laude) in Government from Harvard University, graduating first in his class in the Government Department. Subsequently, the Court of St. James awarded him a Marshall Scholarship, which allowed him to earn M.A. and D.Phil. degrees in Politics from Oxford University (in 1990 and 1992, respectively). He then returned to the United States and attended the Yale Law School, where he earned his J.D. in 1995 and served as an editor on the Yale Law Journal. During this time, he published two books: The Referendum: Direct Democracy in Switzerland (Dartmouth, 1994), and Political Capital: The Motives, Tactics, and Goals of Politicized Businesses in South Africa (University Press of America, 1990).
Legal career 
Early years 
From 1995 to 1996, Kobach clerked for Judge Deanell Reece Tacha of the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Lawrence, Kansas. He began his professorship at the University of Missouri-Kansas City shortly thereafter.
In 2001, President George W. Bush awarded him a White House Fellowship to work for Attorney General John Ashcroft. At the end of the fellowship, he stayed on as Counsel to the Attorney General. Shortly after the attacks of September 11, 2001, he led a team of attorneys and researchers who formulated and established the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System. In addition, he took part in work to reshape the Board of Immigration Appeals in 2002. After his government service ended, he returned to UMKC to teach law until running for and winning election to Secretary of State. Upon winning election, Kobach left his position at UMKC.
Immigration and the 2012 Republican Party Platform 
The 2012 Republican Party (United States) platform included self-deportation as a response to illegal immigration to the United States. Kris Kobach, proposed the measure, stating “If you really want to create a job tomorrow, you can remove an illegal alien today.”
Immigration lawsuits 
While running for Congress, Kobach represented out-of-state students (on behalf of Federation for American Immigration Reform) in a lawsuit against the state of Kansas, challenging a state law which grants in-state tuition to illegal immigrants. The suit was dismissed for lack of legal standing for the plaintiffs.
In 2005, Kobach filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Immigration Reform Law Institute, challenging a similar law in California. In September 2008, the California Court of Appeal held that California's law granting in-state tuition rates to illegal aliens was preempted by federal law. (Martinez v. Regents, 166 Cal. App. 4th 1121 (2008)). In November 2010, the California Supreme Court unanimously reversed, finding that the law was not preempted by federal law.
Kobach has also litigated several lawsuits defending cities and states that adopt laws to discourage illegal immigration. He served as lead lawyer defending the city of Valley Park, Missouri in a federal case concerning an ordinance that sanctioned employers who hire unauthorized aliens. The ordinance was upheld by Missouri federal judge E. Richard Webber on January 31, 2008 (Gray v. Valley Park, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7238). The ACLU, representing the plaintiff, appealed the case to the Eighth Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals. Kobach prevailed in the appeal, and the Court allowed the Valley Park ordinance to stand (Gray v. Valley Park, 567 F.3d 976 (8th Cir. 2009)).
Kobach is also the lead attorney defending the city of Hazleton, Pennsylvania, whose anti-illegal immigration ordinances had been struck down by a federal judge in Pennsylvania and again before the Third Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals. In June 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court vacated the Third Circuit's decision and remanded the case back to the Third Circuit for reconsideration. Sup. Ct. No 10-722. The case is currently pending before the Third Circuit.
He is currently involved with another lawsuit, involving a Farmers Branch, Texas ordinance that prevents landlords from renting to illegal immigrants. That case is on appeal before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. It was originally heard by a three judge panel, then the Fifth Circuit granted rehearing en banc before the entire Court. Case No. 10-10751.
Arizona immigration law 
|This article is outdated. (August 2012)|
Kobach played a significant role in the drafting of Arizona SB 1070, a state law that attracted national attention as the country's broadest and strictest—at the state level—anti-illegal immigration measure in a long time, and has assisted in defending the state during the ongoing legal battle over SB 1070's legality. On February 7, 2008, Federal Judge Neil V. Wake ruled against a lawsuit filed by construction contractors and immigrant organizations who sought to halt a state law that imposes severe penalties on employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants. The plaintiffs appealed the ruling, but Arizona prevailed (with Kobach's assistance) in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (Chicanos por la Causa v. Arizona, 558 F.3d 856 (2009)). The case was further appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States.
On June 25, 2012, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in a 5-3 decision to strike down three out of the four challenged provisions of Arizona SB 1070. Three key provisions of the law were struck down on the grounds that they were preempted by federal immigration law, and one provision was upheld. The first provision to be struck down was Section 3 of the bill, which made it a misdemeanor under state law for immigrants to fail to seek or carry federal registration papers. The second struck down provision, Section 5(C), made it a crime in Arizona for immigrants to work or solicit work without employment authorization. The third provision struck down was Section 6, which gave local police the authority to make warrantless arrests of immigrants suspected of being removable. This provision would have provided state officers with greater arrest authority than federal immigration officers, and could be exercised with no instruction from the Federal Government. Section 2(B), one of the most controversial provisions, was upheld, as it was found to be too early to determine how the provision would be applied in practice. 2(B) requires local law enforcement to investigate into the immigration status of anyone stopped or arrested when “reasonable suspicion” exists that the person is in the U.S. unlawfully. This was the so-called “racial profiling” provision.
Alabama immigration law 
Kobach was also credited as a primary author of Alabama HB 56, passed in 2010, which has been described as tougher than Arizona's controversial law. Alabama State Senator Scott Beason and Representative Micky Hammon met Kobach at an Eagle Forum of Alabama conference in Birmingham. They worked closely with Kobach to draft the bill so that it would survive judicial review.
Political career 
2004 election 
In the 2004 election cycle, Kobach was the Republican nominee for Congress in the 3rd District, besting primary opponents Adam Taff and Patricia Lightner (Taff had previously lost the 2002 election for the same office to Dennis Moore, and Lightner was a six-year veteran state legislator).
He lost to incumbent Dennis Moore, 55%–43%. The victory was the largest of Moore's congressional campaigns.
The campaign thrust Kobach onto the national stage, mostly due to his stance on illegal immigration issues. He was given a speaking role on the opening day of the 2004 Republican National Convention and used his slot to call for the U.S. military to be sent to the Mexican border to block illegal immigration.
Chairman of Republican Party 
On January 28, 2007, Kobach was elected Chairman of the Kansas Republican Party, serving until January 2009.
Kobach's chairmanship was noted for the broad changes he introduced to election efforts. As Chairman, he raised money for targeted statewide and legislative races and instituted a direct-role policy for the state party in those races. He also pushed the State Committee to create a "loyalty committee", which was charged with sanctioning Republicans who assisted Democratic candidates in contested races. This led to several party officers being stripped of voting rights in party matters as punishment for giving campaign contributions to Democratic Candidates. Despite the resulting intra-party turmoil, Kansas Republicans enjoyed unusual success at the polls—in 2008, Kansas was one of only five states in the country where Republicans gained a congressional seat. The Kansas Republican Party also increased its majority in the Kansas Senate, claiming 31 out of 40 seats.
After Kobach left office, a Federal Elections Commission audit strongly criticized Kobach's financial management of the Kansas Republican Party. The FEC audit found that when the Kobach served as chairman, the state party failed to pay state and federal taxes. It was also discovered that illegal contributions were accepted.
2010 election 
On May 26, 2009, Kobach announced his candidacy for Kansas Secretary of State. His opponents in the Republican primary were Shawnee County Election Commissioner Elizabeth Ensley and J.R. Claeys, former president of the National Association of Government Contractors. Kobach won the Republican nomination with 50.6% of the vote. Ensley and Claeys finished with 27.0% and 22.4%, respectively.
On November 2, 2010, Kobach defeated incumbent Democrat Chris Biggs, 59%–37%. Kobach was endorsed by former U.S. Senator Fred Thompson, as well as former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft (his former boss at the Dept. of Justice). Arizona's Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio campaigned for Kobach as well.
Other involvements 
While at Harvard, Kobach served as Republican Club President. In that capacity, he supported the Afghan Mujahideen in their war against the Soviet Union, stating, "[T]he Afghan rebels' cause gets the least amount of attention and support in this country". Kobach served as a missionary to Uganda in 2005 and 2006. Previously, he had volunteered to help build a school in a South African township through the Get Ahead Foundation. He has also served as a Big Brother. He was a national rowing champion (men's pair event, master's division in 1998; men's double event, master's division, 2001, 2002). He is also an Eagle Scout.
Kobach is married to wife, Heather, and lives with his four daughters Lilly, Reagan, Molly and Charlotte in Kansas City, Kansas.
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- "Immigration Law Reform Institute Attorney's Page". Immigration Law Reform Institute. Retrieved July 20, 2009.[dead link]
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- "New Republican Party Platform Calls for Mandatory E-Verify and Self-Deportation". The National Law Review. Greenberg Traurig LLP. 2012-09-03. Retrieved 2012-09-23.
- Maines, Sophia; Rothschild, Scott (September 28, 2006). "Immigrant tuition law on trial". Lawrence Journal and World News. Retrieved July 25, 2009.
- California Supreme Court Upholds § 68130.5’s Resident Tuition Payment for Illegal Aliens; Deems Federal Immigration Statutes Non-Preemptive, November 15, 2010, accessed January 11, 2012
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- New York Times, Sunday, February 10, 2008, p.(A)22
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- Schwartz, John; Archibold, Randal C. (April 28, 2010). "A Law Facing a Tough Road Through the Courts". The New York Times. p. A17.
- "Why Arizona Drew a Line" OpEd by Kobach, The New York Times, April 28, 2010 (April 29, 2010 p. A31 NY ed.). Retrieved April 29, 2010.
- "Supreme Court Hears Oral Argument on Arizona SB 1070". Fowler White Boggs P.A. 2012-05-23. Retrieved 2012-09-20.
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- Talbot, George (16 October 2011). "Kris Kobach, the Kansas lawyer behind Alabama's immigration law". Mobile Press-Register.
- Humphreys, Zachary; Kropf, Martha (May 2, 2005). "The Road to Congress 2004 – Ch 3: Hustle, Attention, And a Little Bit of Luck: Moore Defeats Kobach in Kansas Third Congressional District". Nova Science Publishers. Retrieved July 25, 2009.
- Election 2004 Coverage, The Washington Post (November 4, 2004). "Election 2004 State Roundup – The Plains". Washington Post. Retrieved July 25, 2009.
- Moon, Chris (October 24, 2004). "Iraq war, taxes and health care drive 3rd District race". Topeka Capital-Journal. Retrieved May 28, 2009.
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- Carpenter, Tim (2007-07-31). "Kansas GOP forming 'loyalty committee'". CJOnline.com. Retrieved 2012-08-15.
- "Letter: Kobach responds". CJOnline.com. 2010-06-16. Retrieved 2012-08-15.
- "The Hutchinson News Online Edition". Hutchnews.com. Retrieved 2012-08-15.
- Rothschild, Scott (December 27, 2007). "Democrats accuse GOP of vote ‘caging’". Lawrence Journal-World. Retrieved 10 November 2012.
- Carpenter, Tim (May 26, 2009). "GOP primary assured". Topeka Capital-Journal. Retrieved May 28, 2009.
- "2010 Kansas Republican Primary election results for Kansas Secretary of State", KMBC-TV Channel 9, Kansas City, August 4, 2010.
- "Arizona sheriff Arpaio stumps for Kobach", Wichita Eagle and Kansas.com, July 14, 2010.
- [kansas.watchdog.org/7620/kobachs-campaign-committee-to-face-ethics-civil-fine-hearing/ "Kobach's campaign committee to face ethics civil fines hearing"], KansasWatchdog.Org, September 29, 2011.
-  to the Harvard Crimson
- "Don MacRobert knows how to get ahead of the game", by Ronnie Apteker and John Vlismas, Business Report, May 25, 2007. Retrieved April 29, 2010.
- "President Bush Appoints His First Class Of White House Fellows", White House Press Release, June 19, 2001. Retrieved April 29, 2010.
- Campaign bio, Campaign Web site. Retrieved April 29, 2010.
- Secretary of State's website
- UMKC Faculty Biography
- Washburn Rural H.S. Alumni Hall of Fame
- New York Times profile, 2009
|Secretary of State of Kansas