Attorneys For Kansas Judge, State Spar Over Policy Change

A Kansas judge is suggesting that the independence of the state’s courts is at stake in a dispute over an administrative policy imposed on them by legislators.

An attorney for District Judge Larry Solomon of Kingman County on Friday asked District Judge Larry Hendricks of Shawnee County to strike down a 2014 law changing who selects chief judges in the state’s 31 judicial districts. Solomon is chief judge in the 30th District in south-central Kansas.

Hendricks had a hearing in a lawsuit by Solomon against the statute and says he will rule soon.

Judges in each district now pick their chief judges. The Kansas Supreme Court previously did.

The state contends there’s no attack on judicial independence. But lawmakers tied the court system’s budget to preserving the policy change.