Kansas solons seek to rein in judiciary usurping legislative powers

At both the federal and state levels, judges are grabbing powers constitutionally reserved for legislative bodies.  The most notorious example is Federal District Judge Russell Clark, who seized control of the Kansas City School District and mandated from the bench that nearly $2 billion be spent on new facilities and programs, all in an effort to desegregate the schools and bring test scores up to the national norm.  The effort was a near total failure, but even if it had been successful, it was an obvious example of a judge appropriating funds, something reserved to the legislative representatives of the people.

In Kansas, next door to K.C., legislators are pushing back against state judges seeking to compel more school spending.  John Hanna of the AP reports:

 Republican lawmakers in Kansas, weary of conflicts with a judiciary that has been pushing for more school spending, are beginning to act on a measure to expand the legal grounds for impeaching judges. (snip)

A committee in the GOP-controlled Senate plans to vote Tuesday on a bill that would make "attempting to usurp the power" of the Legislature or the executive branch grounds for impeachment.

The state’s Supreme Court has indeed attempted to usurp the legislature’s prerogatives:

The state Supreme Court has issued rulings to force increased spending on public schools, citing a constitutional requirement that schools be adequately funded, and threatened last month to shut the schools this fall if lawmakers don't comply. The court also has overturned death sentences in capital murder cases and is reviewing a case that could toss out abortion restrictions.

“Adequate” is an entirely subjective criterion.  And it ought to be in the hands of legislators, at least unless schools have to shut down completely for lack of funds.

The design of the U.S. Constitution (and the states modeled on it) allows checks and balances for out-of-control branches of government.  Impeachment is indeed the check that legislatures have to exercise over the other two branches.

I hope the legislature moves ahead and pases the law and that Governor Sam Brownback signs the legislation, and supreme court justices face impeachment hearings.  Chances are pretty good.  The GOP enjoys supermajorities in both houses.

But expect hysterical wailing by liberals against this, denouncing it as extremism.  AP’s Hanna asserts this hilarious notion:

The move is part of an intensified effort in red states to reshape courts still dominated by moderate judges from earlier administrations.

“Moderate” judges are those who grab the power reserved to the legislature?  The warped worldview of liberals on display.

Throwing out a few supreme court justices would, in the words of Napoleon, “encourage the others.”

About time.