Opinion Columns & Blogs

Fight over court funding having a key day in court

The quiet battle over the independence and authority of Kansas’ judiciary will have an important day in court Friday before a Shawnee County district judge. Kingman-based 30th Judicial District Chief Judge Larry Solomon is suing the state over the actions taken by the Legislature and Gov. Sam Brownback since last year to tie the court system’s funding to policy reforms weakening the Kansas Supreme Court – and to defund the judiciary if a court throws out the policy reforms as the unconstitutional “violation of the separation-of-powers doctrine” that Solomon believes them to be. Advocates for the policy changes say they are no big deal, and will give local judges more control over their own courts and budgets. But because the state constitution gives the Supreme Court “general administrative authority over all courts in this state,” the executive and legislative branches have picked a serious constitutional fight that needs to be resolved in court. – Rhonda Holman