A former employee in Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s office alleges in a lawsuit headed to trial Monday that she was fired because she didn’t go to church enough. Kobach — who until the middle of 2016 held after-hours Christian prayer and Bible study sessions in his office — has called the allegation of religious discrimination by Courtney Canfield “ridiculous.” His office contends she was fired over performance issues. The lawsuit blames Kobach’s chief deputy, Eric Rucker, for the firing and Kobach himself is not a defendant. But the case is sure to draw attention to Kobach, a Republican with a national reputation for championing tough voter identification laws and helping to draft proposals in numerous states aimed at cracking down on illegal immigration.
Kobach, who is serving as vice chairman of President Donald Trump’s commission on election fraud, is also running for Kansas governor in 2018, and both foes and voters are likely to watch the case for hints about how he might govern.
Canfield worked in Kobach’s office for more than nine months in 2013. She learned of her firing from her grandmother, a longtime Republican Party volunteer who knew Rucker.
Gary Laughlin, an attorney for Canfield, said the handling of her firing was “odd,” with no notice ever coming from a supervisor.