Friday, March 4, 2016

Kansas Republicans lash out, make it easy to Impeach Supreme Court Justices who "overstep their authority."

Wisconsin is enjoying an overtly partisan conservative activist State Supreme Court, one that works well with Gov. Scott Walker, a panting lap dog of an Attorney General, and a reckless majority of Republican lawmakers.

But that's not what's happening in Kansas, where the court still acts as a separate independent branch of government. That's about to changed, thanks to those "originalist" conservative guardians of the Constitution:
The Topeka Capital-Journal reports the state constitution currently uses high crimes and misdemeanors as grounds for removal from office. 

The new proposal would allow impeachment of Supreme Court justices if they usurp the authority of the Legislature, or for reckless judicial conduct, personal misconduct and failure to properly supervise judicial personnel.
These are amazing times. Justices working under the constant threat of job loss, over the slightest hint of dissent, is now on the legislative fast track. Their favorite excuse; "overstepping authority:"
The bill's sponsor, Republican Sen. Mitch Holmes, says the court has made several decisions recently that overstepped its authority, such as school funding rulings.
The fight over school funding is brutal. Massive tax cuts forced Republicans to take an ax to public education, which the State Supreme Court said was unconstitutional. That's when Republicans threatened to defund the entire court system if the justices didn't reverse their decision. They backed down, but came back with these gems:
Republicans have drafted bills calling for a system in which the governor would nominate and the State Senate would confirm justices. Republicans have also drafted bills calling for partisan election of justices.
But the court isn't backing down:
The Kansas Supreme Court threatened to shut down schools if lawmakers don't revamp the way the state funds public schools by July,
So now impeachment is on the table for anyone on the court who "oversteps their authority." The excuses are now piling up...
Kansas House Speaker Ray Merrick said the court was holding taxpayers and schoolchildren hostage. A fellow Republican, Sen. Jeff Melcher, called the decision a "temper tantrum. It's kind of one of those things, 'Give us the money, or the kid gets it.'"

Republican Gov. Sam Brownback called it a ruling from an "activist" court but added, "We will review this decision closely and work with the Legislature to ensure the continued success of our great Kansas schools.
This is the kind of fight we're going to see in every red state where the courts aren't in cahoots yet with the controlling right wing authority.   

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