Opinion Columns & Blogs

Impeaching justices next best thing to defunding courts?

Updated: An earlier version incorrectly linked the National Center for State Courts’ Gavel to Gavel blog, edited by William E. Raftery, to the American Bar Association.

To its credit, the Legislature recently reversed an earlier overstepping of constitutional bounds and ensured the state’s judiciary is funded. Then came a new move threatening the Kansas Supreme Court’s authority and the state’s separation of powers. A bill was amended in Senate committee with new language saying the impeachable offenses of state Supreme Court justices and certain District Court judges include “attempting to usurp the power of the legislative or executive branch of government.” As the National Center for State Courts’ Gavel to Gavel blog noted, the wording was added without being addressed in a committee hearing, and targets for potential impeachment “only those judges/justices chosen via the state’s merit selection system.” Sponsors of the impeachment bill as introduced included south-central Kansas Republicans Les Donovan, Michael O’Donnell, Steve Abrams, Ty Masterson and Mike Petersen. – Rhonda Holman