Kansas urges high court to look at judiciary in other states

The attorney general’s office wants the Kansas Supreme Court to look at how the judiciary in surrounding states works when it decides the validity of a law stripping the high court of its power to appoint chief judges.

Court filings Wednesday laid out each side’s arguments before the Dec. 10 hearing on the state’s appeal of a Shawnee County judge’s ruling striking down the 2014 law. The judge ruled the law violated the state constitution by infringing on the Supreme Court’s power to administer the courts.

Kansas contends that determining how chief judges are picked is a legislative power. It notes Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma allow district judges to pick their own chief judge.

Opponents counter the law passed by the Legislature is an unconstitutional violation of the separation-of-powers doctrine.