Since Scott Walker’s Wisconsin often resembles Sam Brownback’s Kansas…a win by Judge JoAnne Kloppenburg might upset the current conservative majority on Wisconsin’s Supreme Court…we might see the Wisconsin legislature take up a Kansas proposal one more time. Like relaxing the requirements to impeach judges:
A bill declaring that Kansas Supreme Court justices can be impeached for meddling too much in the state Legislature’s business cleared its first big hurdle toward passage Thursday.
The Republican-dominated Senate Judiciary Committee approved the bill on a voice vote, sending it to the full chamber for debate. It’s the latest in a series of measures from GOP conservatives in recent years that have put Kansas at the center of a national effort to remake state courts.
The bill supplements a provision of the state constitution that says Supreme Court justices can be impeached and removed from office for treason, bribery or “other high crimes and misdemeanors.” The bill outlines a list of misconduct covered by the latter phrase, including attempting “to usurp the power” of the Legislature or executive branch of state government.
The committee rewrote the bill, with some supporters seeking to make the measure seem less of an attack on the state Supreme Court. But lawmakers are considering it amid widespread dissatisfaction among GOP conservatives with decisions in recent years overturning death sentences for convicted murderers and requiring lawmakers to boost spending on public schools.
“We have arrived at a point today in this country and this state where, specifically, Supreme Court justices have become kings, and there is no check,” said Sen. Forrest Knox, a conservative Altoona Republican and one of the bill’s 18 sponsors.
Can you imagine that? Kings wanting to spend more money on public education per the Kansas Constitution?
But this might not be as big an issue for Wisconsin since we elect Supreme Court justices and in Kansas, the governor appoints them…and they only come up for ‘retention’ votes every six years…so what is the much put upon legislature to do?
Four of Kansas’ seven Supreme Court justices were appointed by Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, who served from 2003 to 2009, and two by her predecessor, Bill Graves, a moderate Republican. Only one was appointed by current Gov. Sam Brownback, a conservative Republican.
Conservatives are expected to push this year for Kansas voters in the November election to remove four justices — two Sebelius appointees and the two Graves appointees.
Sen. Greg Smith, an Overland Park Republican and another sponsor of the bill, said he has little faith in retention elections as a check on the court. No Kansas justice has ever been ousted.
But this has nothing to do with the court…honest!
Smith also argued that the bill wasn’t an attack on the Supreme Court. At his urging, the committee added a similar list of specific grounds for impeachment for the governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and secretary of state.
“It has nothing to do with court cases,” Smith said. “It is simply guidelines defining this term, ‘high crimes and misdemeanors.'”
Somehow I find that hard to believe.
Did anyone notice that there was no impeachment enhancements mentioned for the state legislators??? Can’t imagine how that go overlooked.
But let’s watch and see what happens this fall when Judge Kloppenburg wins…and let’s be prepared to fight back!