Gavel Grab

Judicial Impeachment Bill Debated at Kansas Legislative Hearing

At a state legislative committee hearing on Thursday, a critic said a proposal to expand the criteria for impeachment of Kansas Supreme Court justices amounts to a naked “power grab.”

The Senate Judiciary Committee heard from both sides about a bill that would expand grounds for impeachment of justices to include new justifications, including a judicial effort to “usurp” the authority of legislators. Justice at Stake has called the bill “clearly unconstitutional” and an attack on Kansas courts.

“I suggest to you the bill’s political motivation should be seen for what it is. It’s a power grab. It’s attempt to control every aspect of our government by those who are presently in control,” said attorney Pedro Irigonegaray, according to The Topeka Capital-Journal.

A Republican proponent of the bill, Sen. Mitch Holmes, said, “Courts have the ability to harm society with their decisions. And impeachment was what our founders intended to be a check and a balance on an unchecked system, or what has evolved into an unchecked system.”

The Capital-Journal put the proposed measure into a broader context: “Efforts to advance a constitutional amendment that would change the way justices are selected failed in the House. Altering grounds for impeachment may now be the next best option for legislative critics of the judiciary.”

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