Archive for Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Proposed amendment to limit Kansas Supreme Court fails

March 22, 2006


— A proposed constitutional amendment aimed at limiting the authority of the Kansas Supreme Court failed today to get the required two-thirds majority in the House to advance.

The vote was 66 for and 58 against.

Approval of a constitutional amendment requires 84 votes in the 125-member House and 27 votes in the 40-member Senate before it can be placed on the ballot for voter consideration.

The amendment was aimed at the Kansas Supreme Court, which has ordered the Legislature to increase school funding.

Some lawmakers have said the court reached beyond its authority in the rulings.

"It's about whether we believe self-government is a principle worth fighting for," said Rep. Lance Kinzer, R-Olathe. "We are in a constitutional conflict with the Kansas Supreme Court."

But opponents said the proposal would have given too much power to the Legislature and reduced the independence of the judiciary.

The proposal would have prohibited the judicial branch from ordering the Legislature to make or re-direct any appropriations, and could have nullified future school finance orders.


rhd99 12 years, 3 months ago

Well, Legislature, what say you NOW?! Get a life, Conservatives or get another job come November! You all have lost the edge. The tighter your grips, the more voters will slip through your fingers!

bmwjhawk 12 years, 3 months ago

This is good news. It's nice to see the constitution upheld. Chekcs & balances has been pretty successful in this country. If any of Kansas' branches of government is trying to make a power play, it's the legislature.

yourworstnightmare 12 years, 3 months ago

Dagumnit, who gave these judges the right to determine the constitutionality of legislation?

Oh yeah, the Constitution!

grimpeur 12 years, 3 months ago

Actually, Mr. Kinzer, you're NOT in a constitutional conflict with the Supreme Court.

You're in a constitutional conflict with the constitution.

Jamesaust 12 years, 3 months ago

I noted with interest (in part because media like LJW ignored it) that recently retired Supreme Court Justice O'Connor took aim earlier this month at those who find it politically convenient to blame courts for interfering with attempts to trample on people's rights. O'Connor noted the long list of third world and communist countries where in her lifetime interfering with the independence of the courts was a prime means to establish a dictatorship.

O'Connor said Americans must be ever-vigilant against those who would strongarm the courts into defering to their partisan ends. She observed that it takes a lot of degeneration before a country falls into "dictatorship" (her choice of words) but we should avoid these ends by avoiding these beginnings.

Kinzer doesn't have the courage of his convictions. If he really believes that schools should not be funded then he should undertake to amend the Kansas Constitution's requirement that it be adequately funded. He won't do that of course because (a) he would fail in the effort and (b) would lose his seat.

DaREEKKU 12 years, 3 months ago

Jamesaust....I agree...I miss the moderate swing voter O'Connor on the Court. This is absolutely ridiculous....we don't have money yet we have money for big business to "generate revenue." What a load of crap. Fiscally conservative for whom? For people like Wittig of Westar? Put the money where it belongs, with the WORKING class families!!!!

hay_capital_reader 12 years, 3 months ago

It's amazing how the neocons have twisted the story to make them seem like the victims and their rights must be protected by a constitutional amendment. The Kansas constitution mandates that the state is responsible for providing a suitable education for the children of Kansas and the Legislature has commissioned several studies to determine the cost of a suitable education. These studies have consistently determined that a suitable education costs a dollar amount that is significantly higher than what is currently being spent. The Supreme Court did not tell the Legislature how much to spend; their own studies did that for them. The constitutional crisis is that the Legislature is not doing what is constitutionally required of it.

Sigmund 12 years, 3 months ago

Actually, rasing revenues (taxes) and spending money (budgeting, funding) has always been within the authourity of the legistlative branch not the judicial branch of government. That is true both at the Kansas and Federal levels. One reason, if we the people didn't like the tax rate or budget priorities we could always vote the bums out of office. They are supposed to represent the people wishes.

Recently in Kansas and Missouri we have Judges telling Legistlature how much their budgets should be. This is the Judiciary taking on more authority than we the people have historically given them. I voted for representatives to represent us and work out compromises. I did not vote for judges to dictate fiscal policy.

I like the old system better....

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 3 months ago

As a part of the state constitution, we the people gave the legislature the responsibility and obligation to adequately fund public schools. The state supreme court was merely holding them to that responsibility and obligation, not usurping the authority of the legislature. They can still raise taxes or cut other spending as they see fit in order to do their job of adequately financing schools.

But that point has been made a million times on this forum, and I assume Sigmund and Pilgrim will ignore it again.

tpatric 12 years, 3 months ago

Without an independent judiciate, we may as well chuck the constitution.

bmwjhawk 12 years, 3 months ago


Amen, brother. Amen!

The courts are neither raising revenues nor spending them; they are simply doing their job and telling the lawmakers that they haven't adequately funded education. According to our State Constitution, unding adequately funding education is the legislature's duty. The system works.

If you disagree with the judiciary's interpretation of the constitution, you should work to get them removed.

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