Kansas Senate Approves Judicial Impeachment Bill by 21-19 Vote

Capitol-from-NWThe Kansas Senate narrowly approved on Tuesday by a 21-19 vote, for final passage, a bill expanding grounds for impeachment of state Supreme Court justices to include their attempting to usurp the legislature’s authority, according to The Topeka Capital-Journal. Justice at Stake spoke out against the bill, which has not yet received a vote in the Kansas House.

“This bill is an affront to democracy and should be offensive to every Kansan,” said Susan Liss, JAS executive director, according to a different Capital-Journal article. “It is nothing more than a transparent effort by legislators to punish the Kansas Supreme Court for daring to do its job. Could this be any more self-serving? Like earlier iterations of this bill, the latest version is clearly unconstitutional.”

Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, a Democrat, said the bill represented on the judiciary for its opinions that upset some Republicans on school finance, capital punishment and abortion. “It’s an election year,” Hensley said. “It’s a popular sport to beat up on the Supreme Court. It makes people feel good. We’re going to go after the black robes.”

A proponent, Republican Sen. Greg Smith, contended, “The power of the Kansas Legislature is the ultimate check against officials of the executive and judiciary branches of state government from attempting to usurp the power of the people of Kansas and is a fundamental component of the constitutional system.”

Other coverage came from The Associated Press and The Wichita Eagle. Meanwhile, The Capital-Journal reported about one case that angered some legislators, “Kansas Supreme Court denies request that it clarify language in education ruling.”