Kansas bill would defund courts if law on selection of chief judges is overturned
Pending legislation in Kansas would eliminate funding for the judicial branch if the courts overturn a 2014 law requiring that chief judges in the district courts be selected by their fellow judges.
Budget negotiators on Monday agreed on the defunding scheme in a bill providing money for the judicial branch for the next two years, report the Lawrence Journal-World and the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.). The bill has a non-severability clause providing that, if one part of the bill is struck down, the entire bill must fail, including its funding provisions.
The 2014 bill gives district judges rather than the state supreme court the power to choose the chief judges, who have authority over district court budgets, hiring and case assignments. A pending suit claims the new selection system violates a Kansas constitutional provision giving the state supreme court “general administrative authority over all courts in this state.”
Kansas Democrats link the bill to animosity toward the judiciary that stems from state supreme court decisions on inadequate school funding.
Hat tip to How Appealing.