"Top Kansas judge criticizes bill that would tie judicial changes to funding," is the report by Brad Cooper in today's Kansas City Star.
The highest-ranking judge in Kansas lashed out at lawmakers Monday for tying critical court funding to an administrative overhaul of the judicial system.
Kansas Supreme Court Chief Justice Lawton Nuss, in an opinion essay sure to fuel a long-simmering fight with legislators, blasted lawmakers’ insistence on decentralized budgets for the judicial system and a new method for choosing chief district judges.
Those changes, which would effectively strip some authority from the Kansas Supreme Court, are part of legislation that includes funding the courts need to stay open at full strength beyond June.
The OpEd by Kansas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nuss, also in today's Star, is, "Kansas Legislature threatens judges’ independence." He's been Chief Justice since 2010. and a member of the Court since 2002.
Last year certain legislators tried to change the people’s constitutional process for selecting Kansas Supreme Court justices. Several sought endorsement of their proposal by the Kansas District Judges Association (KDJA). After the endorsement attempt failed, one of these legislators vigorously denied linking support for changing the selection process to providing funding of overdue pay raises for judicial branch employees.
But in a recent legislative proposal, linking money to other court issues can no longer be denied. It is glaring.
Instead of pay raises, this time legislative money is being offered to keep all Kansas courts open after July 1 — in direct exchange for some important judicial branch restructuring. More specifically, the money would be given if the KDJA now endorsed the “package deal” which includes changing the statewide unified court system in two fundamental ways.
Earlier coverage of the Kansas legislation begins at the link.