"Kansas' attorney general withdrew on Wednesday a court brief that cites the slavery-era Dred Scott decision to support the state's position that the Kansas Constitution does not gua
"The Kansas Supreme Court today will hear oral arguments on whether the state is spending enough money to provide all students with an adequate education.
"The long-running school finance lawsuit Gannon v. Kansas will return to the state Supreme Court on Wednesday, marking the fourth time the justices have been asked to resolve the matter.
This time, though, the oral arguments before the court will coincide with a hotly contested political campaign in which the issue of school funding is driving many races for state legislative seats.
The arguments also come at a time when five of the seven Supreme Court justices are on the election ballot themselves.
"News of the Supreme Court striking down Texas' strict regulations of abortion clinics may have a trickledown effect in Kansas. Texas rules require abortion providers to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals and forced clinics to meet hospital-like standards for outpatient care.
The nation's highest court held Monday that those regulations are medically unnecessary and unconstitutionally limit a woman's right to an abortion. Some law experts say that regulations in Kansas are quite similar.
"When the Kansas Supreme Court and state legislature faced off over school finance more than a decade ago, many lawmakers insisted that judges had overreached.
So much so that they passed a law banning courts from closing schools if the issue ever got to that point again.
And now that we’re there, with a June 30 deadline looming and the threat of a school shutdown real, some legislators insist judges should go back and abide by that 2005 law.
"For district leaders, suing states over school finance formulas may seem like a high-stakes gamble on where judges will come down, as high-profile decisions with very different outcomes in Texas, Kansas, and Washington state suggest.
"Former Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius is a foe in the eyes of anti-abortion advocates in Kansas, and yet it was a Sebelius appointee who issued the Kansas Court of Appeal’s anti-abortion minority opinion Friday.
Richard Levy, a professor of constitutional law at the University of Kansas, said lower court judges have less discretion to pursue personal predilections because they are bound by higher court rulings.
The 14th Amendment was one of three post-war amendments that were supposed to put the issues of slavery and racial discrimination to rest. It’s the one that says, among other things, that states may not deprive their citizens of life, liberty or property without due process of law, nor deny to any of them equal protection under the laws.
But today, 149 years later, issues that are embedded in the 14th Amendment continue to stir controversy in statehouses around the country, on issues ranging from abortion to gay rights, and from even voting rights to school finance.
"In a 37-minute speech Tuesday, President Obama announced several steps — executive action without the need for Congressional input — he’s taking in reaction to mass shootings in such high-profile cases as Newtown, Connecticut, Aurora, Colorado, Charleston, South Carolina, and most recently San Bernadino, California.
"In a case that threatens all funding for the entire state judicial branch, the Kansas Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down a new law that changes the way chief judges in the lower courts are selected.
In a 43-page opinion in the case of Solomon v. Kansas written by Justice Eric Rosen, the court upheld a lower court decision that said the new law violates the separation of powers doctrine as well as Article 3 of the state constitution, which gives the Supreme Court “general administrative authority over all courts in this state.”