Gavel Grab

Kansas Judicial Impeachment Bill is Unconstitutional, JAS Says

Capitol-from-NWA judicial impeachment bill that was advanced by a Kansas Senate committee this week is unconstitutional and represents a political attack on Kansas courts, Justice at Stake said on Friday. JAS Executive Director Susan Liss said:

“This is the latest attack on Kansas courts by politicians who have repeatedly been willing to cross the lines of constitutionality to intimidate the state’s courts, especially its Supreme Court. It wasn’t enough for politicians to threaten a complete shutdown of the state’s court system at the expense of its citizens, or to attempt to tear down the state’s constitutionally-created centralized court system. Now, the political tampering with courts extends to a list of ‘impeachable’ judicial offenses that would be laughable if it weren’t so disturbing.

“This bill is clearly unconstitutional. The bill greatly expands the offenses for which Supreme Court justices in particular can be impeached by including overbroad and vague categories. And there has been no effort to follow the required process for seeking voter consent for a constitutional amendment.”

The bill includes as grounds for removal of certain state judges a list of new offenses beyond those stated in the Kansas Constitution, including any attempt to usurp the power of the legislative or executive branch.

Gavel to Gavel, a publication of the National Center for State Courts, has a report on the details of the legislation. The National Center for State Courts is a JAS partner organization.

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