Kansas: day before state supreme court ruling on K-12 funding, 18 senators introduce bill for impeachment of justices who “usurp the power of the legislative branch”

Yesterday, the day before an expected announcement by the Kansas Supreme Court in a K-12 funding case, 18 members of the Kansas Senate introduced a bill setting out the basis for the possible impeachment of the justices and district court judges selected under the state’s merit selection system (this would NOT apply to district court judges elected or the Court of Appeals).

Update: the specific wording (emphasis added)

in an impeachment proceeding against a justice of the supreme court or in a proceeding for discipline, suspension or removal for cause against an appointed judge of the district court, the grounds for such impeachment or for such discipline, suspension or removal for cause shall include, but not be limited to, any one or more of the following

SB 439 of 2016, which is almost identical to SB 297 of 2015 discussed here, would establish criteria for impeaching the justices and judges.

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 439 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

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