Archive for Monday, February 22, 2016

Kansas Senate delays debate on judicial impeachment grounds

Justices take their seats to hear oral arguments in a judicial funding case before the Kansas Supreme Court in Topeka, Kan., Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015.

Justices take their seats to hear oral arguments in a judicial funding case before the Kansas Supreme Court in Topeka, Kan., Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015.

February 22, 2016, 4:36 p.m. Updated February 22, 2016, 7:07 p.m.


— The Kansas Senate postponed a debate Monday on a measure declaring that state Supreme Court justices can be impeached and removed from office for attempting to “usurp” the power of the Legislature and the executive branch of state government.

Senators stripped the proposed impeachment measure from a bill clarifying the Supreme Court’s authority to administer the judicial branch’s day-to-day operations. The Senate gave the narrower bill first-round approval on a voice vote, with a final vote Tuesday to determine whether it goes to the House.

The Senate Judiciary Committee’s decision last week to add the proposed impeachment grounds to the bill came after the Supreme Court ordered lawmakers to rewrite a law that determines how more than $4 billion in state aid a year is distributed to Kansas’ 286 public school districts. Critics saw the move as an attack on the court system’s independence, though supporters of the proposal said they simply wanted to spell out what misconduct could get a justice removed from the bench.

Judiciary Committee Chairman Jeff King, an Independence Republican, promised the panel would have a hearing and vote on the proposal early next month.

Sen. Mitch Holmes, a St. John Republican, said the issue of addressing judicial misconduct has “just fallen by the wayside for generations.”

“It’s time that we, as an elective body, assert ourselves in certain circumstances,” he said.

The Washington-based advocacy group Justice at Stake also said the proposal is unconstitutional because it “greatly expands” the offenses that could lead to a justice’s impeachment.

The state constitution says justices can be impeached and removed for treason, bribery or other “high crimes and misdemeanors.” The House impeaches an official, and the Senate tries him or her, with a two-thirds vote required for conviction and removal.


Paul R Getto 2 years, 3 months ago

Good move. Much work to do, Legislators. Focus on the budget. Separation of powers is there for a reason.

Michael Kort 2 years, 3 months ago

Here we go again with another voice vote, so that the people back home will not know who voted for or against what !

If they really want to improve state government,.....they would vote to do away with voice votes, altogether !

Of course, if you wish to do a cowardly deed such as anonymously attacking our American form of government ( without leaving a trail to your own door ), that has worked just fine, for hundreds of years, consisting of the 3 equal but separate arms of government, then this must be the way to take out the influence of the courts and replace it with the Unopposed FASCIST Actions of The Legislative and Executive Dreams, of the morally misguided KOCHS', who fail to appreciate the worth of our American System of Government, that has made them wealthy .

Last that I heard, the misguided brothers, were worth 25 Billion a piece ( or 25,000-million each ) .

Such abject poverty must be hard to live with ? I bet that they don't get a single good meal per day ! Poor them ! Such victims !

Would they have done as well in any other country than America ? Or better than here ?

If so,.....& since they don't seem to like our slystem of government and send their political minions to attack it, why don't they just move and leave the system that helped to make them rich, alone ?

Carol Bowen 2 years, 3 months ago

"The state constitution says justices can be impeached and removed for treason, bribery or other “high crimes and misdemeanors.” The House impeaches an official, and the Senate tries him or her, with a two-thirds vote required for conviction and removal."

The state constitution includes the same rules of impeachment for legislators and administration.

Bob Forer 2 years, 3 months ago

You hit the nail directly on the head Carol. The only way to modify the grounds for judicial impeachment is through an amendment to the Kansas Constitution, and they don't have sufficient support for that. These scoundrels are trying to circumvent our State Constitution. They have no respect and/or understanding of the rule of law. They wasting are tax dollars on this nonsense when they need to fix our broken state economy. They can't do that without acknowledging the tax breaks to the wealthy were wrong. So they try to fool the public with a lot of smoke and mirrors.

Larry Ripley 2 years, 3 months ago

Thank God for Kansas, what entertainment it is. This should set new records for how stupid one has to be to believe the crap that is being sprayed around here. I read an article authored by Arthur Laffer about how well Kansas was doing and how the 27 things that were conspiring to keep the State from being successful.

These folks jumped into this both feet first, proudly announcing they were changing a working economic model with supporting policies to a supply side driven model that required cutting taxes and spending , balancing the budget and lots of reinvestment from the reduced taxes. The problem which did not seem to be considered is it takes time to make such changes and the economy has to be carefully shifted and moved around. If the necessary changes to policies, changes to taxes and spending are not handled and implemented carefully the result is a ruined economy and the supply side policies are a disaster. The tax gains by the wealthier set appear to be banked and saved because there is not enough new business to require investment for expansion or hiring.

Trying to convert the economy without some plan to provide the State government needed support during the conversion. Laffer was trying to boost how well things were going pointing out a measure was now going down at a slower pace. The change to the economic policies has been disastrous because it was not planned and the ideas work only in very special situations. Supply side economics is useful only for stimulating investment, but their must be a demand for investment, something not around Kansas.

The group has now began to become dictatorial in their desire to show a success. The changes in laws and instructions issued by the Governor that have been made have all been focused on reducing voting participation, obstructing citizens opportunities and many other limitations that restrict or reduces the citizens right to know. the attitude of Elected Officials should be more than sufficient to leave them out next time.

Larry Tucker 2 years, 3 months ago

Why does the legislature need to expand reasons to impeach judges? There is only one reason and it has to do with school finance. If you can't beat 'em then just get rid of them. The conservatives in the legislature will use any excuse to avoid complying with the state's constitution and the rulings of the Supreme Court. It is time for their past tax policies to be repealed and fund public schools according to the state's constitution. Kansans expect quality education and the Kansas Supreme Court needs to be independent of the legislature. It's time for new leadership in Topeka!!

Charles Wolfe 2 years, 3 months ago

The cancer called the GOP is destroying this state. Instead of a SCOKS, they want a Kangaroo Court. So that they can dictate party theology in the school system, & rob funds from KPERS. The Governor wants to ingrain this disease so deep from top to bottom, that it will take years to remove it. He has raised record taxes on poor & middle class, to save cuts in taxes on rich & small business. They have also robbed funds from schools, highway & any other state funds. He has chased jobs & people out of the state. His bigotry now extends to Syrian Refugees, by claiming they are dangerous as Somalis who have left to fight for ISIS. He has refused to extend by 50K Medicaid, while trying to kick people off welfare rolls. Instead wants them to train for jobs that aren't there. Brownbeck & Legislators will go down in history as the worse there ever was.

Kevin Davis 2 years, 3 months ago

Or maybe just slap all the people who voted for these morons in the first place? Kansas is getting what they voted for... Hope they're happy. :)

Carol Bowen 2 years, 3 months ago

It's not over. Five terms are up for renewal.

The court has seven justices; they are chosen by a commission, and serve renewable six-year terms subject to retention votes. The mandatory age of retirement for a Kansas Supreme Court justice is 70, but a justice may choose to finish out their term if they turn 70 prior to its expiration.[2][1]

The current justices of the court are:

Justice, Tenure, Selected by

Chief Justice Lawton Nuss , 2002-2016, Gov. Bill Graves

Justice Lee Johnson, 2007-1/10/2021, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius

Justice Marla Luckert, 2003-2016, Gov. Bill Graves

Justice Carol Beier, 2003-2016, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius

Justice Eric Rosen, 2005-1/10/2021, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius

Justice Daniel Biles , 2009-2016, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius

Justice Caleb Stegall, 2014-2016, Gov. Sam Brownback

Buzz Anderson 2 years, 3 months ago

So in other words what the legislature wants is a Kangaroo court! A rubber stamp court. NOT a real court but a phony one that agrees with everything they say. The State Supreme court should all resign en mass and tell them to go screw themselves. That is not justice, it is nothing more than wanting a court that rubber stamps whatever the legislature wants. Kansas is rapidly becoming the poster child for how to run a state into the ground.

Chris Mulgrew 2 years, 3 months ago

Its the Supreme Court. Finally they found the reason why the tax cut hasn't super-charged the economy.

Jim Glendenning 2 years, 3 months ago

The Kansas governor and legislature surrendered Kansas to Wall Street. The Kansas legislature continues their radical revolution to destroy the government; from now on Wall Street will rule Kansas through their selected puppets. The first attack achieved the goal of cutting government tax revenues which immediately kills government services - education, infrastructure, police, teachers. This attack on the justices seeks to remove civilian oversight on corporate actions; corporations will make the law now. These guys would make Robert E Lee proud; Kansas has been brought into the Confederate Corporations of America - the re-making of America one state at a time.

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