Kansas tries to put its court of appeals in the state constitution: 19 state appellate courts are creatures of statute only

January 29th, 2013 by Bill Raftery Leave a reply »

Aside from the provisions related to ending the state’s merit selection system, the recent Kansas legislation (HCR 5002, HCR 5003, HCR 5004, SCR 1601, SCR 1605) also changes the status of the state’s intermediate appellate court (or IACs, usually called the Court of Appeals) from a creation of statute to one established constitutionally. Most IACs can trace their origins back only in the 1970s (the “youngest” such court is probably the Mississippi Court of Appeals, created in 1995).

18 states created their IACs under constitutional provisions allowing the legislature to create courts below the supreme court.

Some state legislators have attempted to use the fact that the IAC is created by statute, and its membership set by statute as well, to pressure the courts. For example in 2012 an Arizona Senate bill attempted to cut the state’s court of appeals from 22 judges down to 6, expressly as punishment and a “push back” against the supreme court for ruling against the senate. (Prior coverage and video from the committee hearing here). Also in 2012 a member of the Virginia Senate tried to repeal the state’s court of appeals outright (SB 630) reportedly in order to save money.

18 states with 19 statute-based IACs below the fold.

Court Constitutional Provision
Alaska Court of Appeals “The judicial power of the State is vested in a supreme court, a superior court, and the courts established by the legislature. “
Arizona Court of Appeals “The judicial power shall be vested in an integrated judicial department consisting of a supreme court, such intermediate appellate courts as may be provided by law, a superior court, such courts inferior to the superior court as may be provided by law, and justice courts. “
Colorado Court of Appeals “The judicial power of the state shall be vested in a supreme court, district courts, a probate court in the city and county of Denver, a juvenile court in the city and county of Denver, county courts, and such other courts or judicial officers with jurisdiction inferior to the supreme court, as the general assembly may, from time to time establish…”
Idaho Court of Appeals “The judicial power of the state shall be vested in a court for the trial of impeachments, a Supreme Court, district courts, and such other courts inferior to the Supreme Court as established by the legislature. “
Indiana Tax Court “The judicial power of the State shall be vested in one Supreme Court, one Court of Appeals, Circuit Courts, and such other courts as the General Assembly may establish.”
Iowa Court of Appeals “The judicial power shall be vested in a supreme court, district courts, and such other courts, inferior to the supreme court, as the general assembly may, from time to time, establish.”
Kansas Court of Appeals “The judicial power of this state shall be vested exclusively in one court of justice, which shall be divided into one supreme court, district courts, and such other courts as are provided by law… “
Maryland Court of Special Appeals “The Judicial power of this State is vested in a Court of Appeals, such intermediate courts of appeal as the General Assembly may create by law, Circuit Courts, Orphans’ Courts, and a District Court.”
Massachusetts Appeals Court “The general court [legislature] shall forever have full power and authority to erect and constitute judicatories and courts of record, or other courts, to be held in the name of the commonwealth…”
Minnesota Court of Appeals “The judicial power of the state is vested in a supreme court, a court of appeals, if established by the legislature, a district court and such other courts, judicial officers and commissioners with jurisdiction inferior to the district court as the legislature may establish.”
Mississippi Court of Appeals “The judicial power of the state shall be vested in a Supreme Court and such other courts as are provided for in this constitution…The legislature shall, from time to time, establish such other inferior courts as may be necessary, and abolish the same whenever deemed expedient.”
North Dakota Temporary Court of Appeals “The judicial power of the state is vested in a unified judicial system consisting of a supreme court, a district court, and such other courts as may be provided by law.”
Oklahoma Court of Appeals “The judicial power of this State shall be vested in the Senate, sitting as a Court of Impeachment, a Supreme Court, the Court of Criminal Appeals, the Court on the Judiciary, the State Industrial Court, the Court of Bank Review, the Court of Tax Review, and such intermediate appellate courts as may be provided by statute District Courts, and such Boards, Agencies and Commissions created by the Constitution or established by statute as exercise adjudicative authority or render decisions in individual proceedings.”
Oregon Court of Appeals “The judicial power of the state shall be vested in one supreme court and in such other courts as may from time to time be created by law.”
Tennessee Court of Appeals “The judicial power of this state shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such Circuit, Chancery and other Inferior Courts as the Legislature shall from time to time, ordain and establish; in the judges thereof, and in justices of the peace. “
Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals “The judicial power of this state shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such Circuit, Chancery and other Inferior Courts as the Legislature shall from time to time, ordain and establish; in the judges thereof, and in justices of the peace. “
Utah Court of Appeals “The judicial power of the state shall be vested in a Supreme Court, in a trial court of general jurisdiction known as the district court, and in such other courts as the Legislature by statute may establish. “
Virginia Court of Appeals “The judicial power of the Commonwealth shall be vested in a Supreme Court and in such other courts of original or appellate jurisdiction subordinate to the Supreme Court as the General Assembly may from time to time establish.”
Washington State Court of Appeals “In addition to the courts authorized in section 1 of this article, judicial power is vested in a court of appeals, which shall be established by statute.”

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