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Kansas Judge Rejects Policy Imposed on Courts by Lawmakers

Associated Press - September 2, 2015 5:00 pm

A Kansas judge has struck down an administrative policy change imposed on the state’s courts by the Legislature in a legal dispute that became tied to the judicial branch’s budget.

Shawnee County District Judge Larry Hendricks on Wednesday ruled unconstitutional a law changing how chief judges for the trial courts in the state’s 31 judicial districts. Hendricks concluded that the law interferes with the Kansas Supreme Court’s power to oversee the judiciary.

Lawmakers earlier this year tied the judiciary’s entire budget to preserving the policy. It wasn’t immediately clear what happens next.

The law says judges in each judicial district pick their chief judges, taking that power from the Supreme Court.

District Judge Larry Solomon of Kingman County challenged the statute. He is chief judge in the 31st District.

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