Kansas: legislators want to spell out impeachment threat against Supreme Court (and only the Supreme Court) possibly for K-12 funding decisions that “usurp” the legislature

The ongoing tensions between the Kansas judiciary and legislature over K-12 education funding is leading to some hint at impeachment for the court.

SB 297 was filed yesterday in the Senate Judiciary Committee. While the Kansas constitution grants the power of impeachment for all state officials (Art. II, Sec. 27 & Art. III, Sec. 15), this particular bill targets the Supreme Court specifically and seems to allude to the possible impeachment if they find the state’s K-12 funding is insufficient.

Currently, the state constitution (Art. II, Sec. 28) limits impeachment to “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” The listed causes for impeachment in SB 297 include the items in Art. II, Sec. 28 but also now include

  • attempting to usurp the power of the legislative or executive branch of government
  • attempting to subvert fundamental laws and introduce arbitrary power
  • commission of treason
  • commission of bribery
  • commission of other indictable criminal offenses
  • commission of a breach of the public trust
  • commission of a breach of judicial ethics
  • failure to perform adequately the duties of office
  • exhibiting wanton or reckless judicial conduct
  • exhibiting personal misbehavior or misconduct
  • failure to adequately supervise subordinate employees

SB 297 is pending before the Senate Judiciary Committee.