Editorials Scald Judicial Impeachment Bill in Kansas

A torrent of scalding editorials is greeting a proposal by Kansas legislators to expand the grounds for impeachment of state Supreme Court justices. The proposal is grabbing national attention too, with a piece in Esquire quoting concerns raised by Justice at Stake (see Gavel Grab). Here’s a roundup:

  • Charles Pierce excoriates in Esquire the conservative “experiment in Kansas” and its appetite for power; Justice at Stake’s Director of State Affairs Debra Erenberg is quoted as saying, “The attacks on the courts in Kansas have definitely been coming faster and more furious than in other states.”
  • Kansas City Star editorial: “This latest assault on the judiciary smacks of desperation. … [T]his bill isn’t about fairness. It is about intimidating judges and diminishing the chances for Kansas citizens to successfully contest legislative actions in court. … Other lawmakers with a greater respect for our foundation of government should deny [sponsors] this power grab.”
  • Wichita Eagle editorial: The bill “is the latest act of aggression by the state’s conservative legislative leaders and governor against the independent, impartial judiciary. … Setting the measure aside would signal that the legislative branch properly respects both its role and the judiciary’s.”
  • Manhattan Mercury editorial: “If [legislators] could set their egos aside and realize the harm this latest venture would cause, they would drop it and realize they won’t have a conflict with the Supreme Court if they heed the Constitution.”