Kansas: plan to impeach judges chosen via merit/commission selection who “usurp the power of the legislative branch” approved in committee; amendment reportedly added to bill without hearing

It appears a Senate plan to impeach judges chosen via the state’s merit/commission system, including most specifically the state’s supreme court, was just added and approved to a bill by the Kansas Senate Judiciary Committee without a hearing.

SB 439 was amended into SB 440 (dealing with the supreme court’s general superintending authority over the judiciary). As I previously noted SB 439 was introduced the day before the state’s supreme court ruled the current legislatively approved K-12 funding system were unconstitutional.

SB 439 targets with threat of impeachment only those judges/justices chosen via the state’s merit selection system

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

The list of impeachable offenses includes those already in the state constitution (“treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors”) and now includes

  • 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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