Kansas Justice Department Shaken Up

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – Kansas Supreme Court Chief Justice Lawton Nuss is removing himself from a lawsuit that involves the high court’s administrative power and the judicial branch’s entire budget.

The other six justices are not stepping aside, despite a request from Attorney General Derek Schmidt.

Nuss, a Salina native who was appointed by Governor Bill Graves in 2002, announced Monday in an order from the court that he is stepping aside even though the court does not think it’s required by ethics rules. The Supreme Court is hearing arguments Thursday.

The lawsuit challenges a 2014 law stripping the Supreme Court of its power to appoint chief judges for district courts and giving it to the local judges. Legislators passed another law this year nullifying the judiciary’s entire budget if the policy is struck down.

Nuss took responsibility for public statements criticizing the 2014 law.