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Kansas Court Funding Protected... for Now, as AG Intervenes

The Scales of Justice
The Scales of Justice

Funding for the entire Kansas court system has been in jeopardy. But Attorney General Derek Schmidt has now obtained a court order that prevents the judiciary from having its funding cut off, at least for a while. KPR's J. Schafer explains.


First, some background: the Kansas Legislature passed a law that took power away from the Kansas Supreme Court by changing the way local chief judges are selected. The Supreme Court used to make those decisions but under this law, that power was transferred to local judges. But then, state lawmakers went a step further, effectively telling the high court that if this new method of selecting judges was struck down by the court... the entire judicial branch of government would lose all of its funding. A district judge did, in fact, strike down that law - which would have triggered the de-funding of the Kansas court system. But Attorney General Derek Schmidt intervened. This week, he filed a petition (and was granted an injunction) which basically prevents the courts from shutting down -- at least until mid March of next year. By then, lawmakers will be back in session and can decide whether they really want to go through with shutting down the entire judicial branch of government over something as seemingly small as the method by which local chief judges are selected. I'm J. Schafer.

J. Schafer is the News Director of Kansas Public Radio. He’s also the Managing Editor of the Kansas Public Radio Network, which provides news and information to other public radio stations in Kansas and Missouri.