Kansas Lawmakers’ Budget Links Court Funding to Judicial Decision

"A budget advanced by Kansas legislators would eliminate funding for state courts if a judge strikes down a controversial law passed last year.

Republican senators and representatives agreed Monday on a two-year judicial budget that would self-destruct if any court blocks or overturns a 2014 law that stripped the Kansas Supreme Court of some administrative authority, giving local courts control over their own budgets and leadership.

Kansas Schools Fight Plays Out Against Backdrop of Debate on Judiciary

"This state’s judicial and legislative branches are on course for a constitutional clash after a state appellate court suggested that it might block a school financing plan that lawmakers passed.

The plan, championed by the conservative-dominated Legislature and the Republican governor, Sam Brownback, cut tens of millions of dollars in aid intended to close disparities between rich and poor districts.

Recent Kansas school finance actions raise several constitutional questions

"A Kansas University law professor said one result of the new school finance law passed by the Legislature this week could be to halt the ongoing lawsuit over school funding and force the plaintiffs to start over with a new case.

...

But he said another possibility is that the battle between the Legislature and the courts could lead to the kind of constitutional crisis that occurred in 2005, when lawmakers initially refused to comply with a Supreme Court order to increase school funding, and the court threatened to close public schools until the Legislature did comply.

US supreme court won't stop Alabama's first same-sex marriages

"Same-sex couples in Alabama were flocking to the state’s courthouses, where some were able to apply for marriage licenses while others were turned away by probate judges refusing to follow a higher court’s ruling to overturn the state’s ban on gay marriage.

...

Richard Levy, a constitutional law professor at the University of Kansas, told The Guardian that it will likely be some time before all probate judges have to issue same-sex marriage licenses.

Kansas Government Fighting Same-Sex Marriage

"A legal expert contends the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to rule on same-sex marriage will determine the fate of Kansas' ban on the unions.  But University of Kansas Constitutional Law Professor Richard Levy thinks the state could still fight implementation of a judgment allowing gay marriage.

Levy said, 'It’s possible that there could be various kinds of state laws passed that test exactly what the limits are, and in the process slow its recognition.'

KS Court Ruling Could Bolster Effort to Revamp School Funding

"In a previous ruling, the Kansas Supreme Court said the state’s finance system should be judged by determining if the spending levels achieve certain student outcomes.

University of Kansas constitutional law professor Richard E. Levy says if lawmakers decide to tackle the formula, that’s the angle they’ll probably need to take.

'The focus is on what kind of outcomes, what demonstrated student learning have you produced. The focus is on what you’re achieving, not what you’re putting into the process,' says Levy.

Kansas school finance ruling could pave way to overhaul formula

"Tuesday's court ruling in the ongoing school finance lawsuit could open the door for something Gov. Sam Brownback and Republican leaders in the Legislature have long been calling for — an overhaul of the state's school finance formula.

That's the assessment of Kansas University constitutional law professor Rick Levy. But he said lawmakers should be careful to make sure any new formula is designed to produce the results that the courts are now saying are expected.

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