Once again, Kansas and Republican Governor Sam Brownback are in the news--never in good ways, dependably, unfortunately, even tragically. And once again, it's from and in The New York Times. Seems the good Guv wants to get his hands on the state courts:
The fight between Gov. Sam Brownback of Kansas and the state’s judicial branch has escalated, with the governor last week signing into law a bill that could strip state courts of their funding.
The measure, at the end of a lengthy bill that allocated money for the judiciary this year, stipulates that if a state court strikes down a 2014 law that removed some powers from the State Supreme Court, the judiciary will lose its funding.
The 2014 law took the authority to appoint district court judges from the Supreme Court and gave it to the district courts themselves. It also deprived the state’s highest court of the right to set district court budgets. Critics said the law was an attempt by Mr. Brownback, a Republican, to stack the district courts with judges who may be more favorable to his policies.
The budget bill that Mr. Brownback signed on Thursday was related only to the judiciary. He said he wanted to ensure that the courts would remain open while lawmakers sparred over the larger budget issues. Lawmakers have been debating how to fill a $400 million shortfall, which will most likely require tax increases that Mr. Brownback and many in the conservative-dominated Legislature oppose. If a budget is not passed by Sunday, state workers may be furloughed.
But in passing a separate budget bill to keep the third branch of government from shutting down, Republican lawmakers took the opportunity to insert language that would shield the 2014 law.
“I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Matthew Menendez, counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice in New York, which is helping to represent a Kansas judge who is challenging the constitutionality of the 2014 law. “It seems pretty clear that these mechanisms have been an effort by the governor and the Legislature to try and get a court system that is more in line with their philosophy.”
Richard E. Levy, a constitutional law professor at the University of Kansas, likened the measure in the judiciary budget bill to Congress’s passing a law outlawing abortion and then telling the judicial branch that it will lose its funding if it finds the law unconstitutional.
“That kind of threat to the independence of the judiciary strikes me as invalid under the separation of powers principle,” Mr. Levy said in an interview on Friday.
Can you imagine what the Republicans would be saying and, in fact, how loudly they'd be screaming if a governor in Kansas tried to pull such governmental stunts while they were in office?
What part of "small government" is this, exactly?
How "conservative" is this?
Let's be clear here, Governor Sam Brownback is a power-hungry, governmental abuser. There's nothing he doesn't want to get his hands on and control and/or change and to his and his political party's and their supporter's own benefit.
The fact is, if a governor from the Democratic Party tried to do or did all the things he's either done or tried to accomplish, he and his entire Republican Party would be screaming that they're "big government" kooks. There is nothing remotely small government or Conservative about this guy, what he's done, what he's doing or what he is trying to achieve. And it's all for himself, his own temporary power, his political party and the wealthy and corporations in Kansas it can benefit.
Kansans need, desperately, to vote all these Right Wing extremists out of office, post haste. The damage they and the Republican Party have put on that state has been bad enough already, as we keep seeing.