New judicial-reform bills are petty, punitive

New bills aimed at changing (and punishing) the Kansas courts are another example of why the legislative and judicial branches should be kept separate. Apparently angered that the Kansas Bar Association doesn’t support a GOP plan to alter how Kansas Supreme Court justices are selected, Rep. Lance Kinzer, R-Olathe, hastily introduced a constitutional amendment to allow the governor to make lifetime appointments to the state Supreme Court, subject to Senate approval. But in a seemingly contradictory move, he also introduced bills that would reduce the mandatory retirement age for appellate judges to 65 and split the Court of Appeals into criminal and civil divisions, with the criminal division having final say on all criminal cases. These bills are petty attempts to weaken the Supreme Court and purge justices. Kinzer said he doubted that his bills would get a vote before the session ends. They certainly don’t deserve serious consideration.