Judge's injunction delays possible shutdown of Kansas courts
A Kansas judge averted a potential court shutdown on Tuesday when he delayed enforcement of a controversial state law that cuts off court funding if judges strike down a law on the selection of chief judges.
Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said in a press release that he sought the injunction to allow the legislature time to consider the funding issue when it reconvenes in January. The injunction granted by Neosho County District Judge Daryl Ahlquist puts the law on hold until March 15. The Topeka Capital-Journal and the Wichita Eagle covered the development.
The possibility of a court shutdown loomed after a judge in a different county appeared to trigger the funding cutoff when he struck down the law giving local courts the power to select chief judges. The judge, Larry Hendricks, ruled in September that the selection law violated a state constitutional provision giving the supreme court general administrative authority over all state courts. Hendricks put his ruling on hold pending appeal.
Schmidt said in the press release that the injunction granted on Tuesday “prevents any risk of judicial shutdown until at least next spring when the Legislature is back in session and can either change the law or quickly respond to any court ruling.”
“This delay should eliminate talk of any ‘constitutional crisis,’ except perhaps among outside groups itching for a fight, and will give every Kansan involved an opportunity to thoughtfully reassess the situation,” Schmidt said.