I'm sure no one will see any influence from Koch Industries or Charles Koch when they hear that Kansas lawmakers are considering impeachment of Kansas Supreme Court justices over simply funding their public schools properly, right?
Because that's what's happening. You have to love this headline:
Oh, poor frustrated lawmakers. Why, you ask, are they so frustrated they're considering impeachment? Because the mean justices are making them properly fund their public school systems, and that means they might have to tweak the tax rates on the state's rich inhabitants.
A committee in the GOP-controlled Senate plans to vote Tuesday on a bill that would make "attempting to usurp the power" of the Legislature or the executive branch grounds for impeachment.
Impeachment has "been a little-used tool" to challenge judges who strike down new legislation, said Republican Sen. Dennis Pyle, a sponsor of the measure. "Maybe it needs to be oiled up a little bit or sharpened a little bit."
The proposal has considerable support in a Legislature in which Republicans outnumber Democrats more than 3 to 1. Nearly half the Senate's members have signed on as sponsors. It's unclear whether its novelty could complicate passage.
The serious consideration of the measure, though, signals the exceedingly bitter political climate in the state.
The state Supreme Court has issued rulings to force increased spending on public schools, citing a constitutional requirement that schools be adequately funded, and threatened last month to shut the schools this fall if lawmakers don't comply. The court also has overturned death sentences in capital murder cases and is reviewing a case that could toss out abortion restrictions.
"I believe the court has a tremendous problem with overreach," said Republican Sen. Mitch Holmes, one of the impeachment bill's sponsors.
Callie Denton, executive director of the state trial lawyers' association, said Kansas is "really ground zero" for conservative antagonism toward the courts. Legal groups like hers fear Republicans will be motivated to initiate impeachment proceedings if the bill passes.↓ Story continues below ↓
"We're taking it very seriously," Denton said.
This is just immoral, and it's not for nothing that the judges they're aiming at were appointed by then-Governor Kathleen Sibelius. For them, it's a two-fer. First, they get to suck away more money from the schools to service the Kochtopus, and second, they can stick it to the girl who occupied the Governor's office before nasty Sam Brownback took over.
Listen to the report here: