Gov. Sam Brownback To Judges: Wouldn't It Be A Shame If I Stoled All Your Moneys?
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback is such a glorious asshole. What happened this time? Oh, Brownback just signed a law that says that if state courts overturn this one law he doesn't like, he gets to strip funding from the ENTIRE judiciary. "THE FUCK YOU SAY?" says You. Let's see if we can Kansas-splain this in 500 words or less. Help us, New York Times!
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.
Oh, that sounds unconstitutional as all fuck! Because, like, see, separation of powers exists ENTIRELY so the powers of one asshole, Gov. Brownback for instance, don't go unchecked. As the Times points out, "The very same court system that will be affected by the 2014 law will decide whether the law is constitutional," so that is a weird position for the Court to be in! But really, it's not constitutional, because reasons:
The Brennan Center, which is representing Judge Larry T. Solomon, the chief judge of Kingman County in south-central Kansas, has argued that the law violates a provision of the State Constitution that says the Supreme Court “shall have general administrative authority over all courts in this state.”
So why is Brownback so mad at judges? Mark Joseph Stern explains at Slate that it all started with a 2014 Kansas Supreme Court ruling that said hey, it is actually Not OK, and also unconstitutional, to give metric fucktons more money to rich school districts, and leave the pocket change for the poor kids. Something about equal access, blah blah blah. Gov. Brownback and Kansas wingnut legislators have been fighting against adequate school funding for poors since 2005, and they aren't going to go down without a fight. And really, they've been reverse-Robin Hooding the poors for a long time now, in any way they can think of.
So, the Court said, "Hey wingnut legislature, FIX IT." As we Wonksplained at the time:
See, Kansas, this is how courts and separation of powers works! When you refuse to do your job and adhere to the Constitution, the court gets to order you do it, and you can whine about it all you want, but that will still be how things work!
So, what’s happening here procedurally is that the Supreme Court has ordered the Legislature to fix this, but if they don’t fix it, a lower court will try to force them to fix it come July 1. Prepare for a standoff between the forces of the GOP trifecta of evil and rapacious and stupid versus the Court’s power to interpret the Constitution.
And that standoff produced the law in question, the one that stripped the Supreme Court of some of its power, because why govern when you can just bully the judiciary and fuck poor kids in the process, right, Gov. Brownback?
And so here we are. If courts rule that the law is unconstitutional, now they have this NEW law that says that the entire Kansas judiciary loses all of its allowance moneys, because fuck all you "judges" who try to "judge stuff" in ways Gov. Brownback DOES NOT LIKE.
Jesus, what an asshole.