Boots & Sabers

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2051, 07 Mar 16

Kansas Lawmakers Move to Expand Grounds for Impeachment

This will be interesting to watch.

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 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.

I’ve long thought that impeachment is an underutilized check in our system of government. The judiciary is a coequal branch of government and impeachment is often the only check on it from the other branches. Sure, the legislature could also defund the judiciary, but that’s a very blunt instrument. But for some reason we have come to see impeachment as some sort of super extraordinary measure that should only be taken in the event of a global emergency instead of a normal, if severe, check on a bad judge.


2051, 07 March 2016


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