TOPEKA (KSNT) – Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt Tuesday asked the state Supreme Court’s justices to take themselves out of the lawsuit that ties judicial appointments to a threat of cutting off funds for the judiciary.
Two years ago the Kansas Legislature passed a bill which takes the power to appoint chief judges in the state’s district courts from the hands of the state supreme court and gives it to a peer review selection by judges in that district.
Then, earlier this year the legislature passed another bill which, in essence, says if that law is overturned, state funding to the judiciary at all levels will be stopped.
Earlier this fall, the appointments bill was challenged in a lawsuit filed in state court by Chief Judge Larry Solomon of the 30th Judicial District. Shawnee County District Court Judge Larry Hendricks ruled in favor of Solomon and ruled the bill unconstitutional, which set up the showdown in the Kansas Supreme Court.
Tuesday, Schmidt formally asked the justices to recuse themselves from the case, and asks that the justices give the matter to the state Court of Appeals.
“The authority is well established,” says Schmidt in a written statement “that judges and justices should recuse themselves from deciding cases in which their impartiality might reasonable be questioned, and in fact the Kansas Supreme Court’s own rules impose that standard on the justices.”
The motion asks the Supreme Court to use its authority to appoint members of the Kansas Court of Appeals to sit temporarily on the Supreme Court to decide the matter.