Kansas GOP Insider (wannabe): Let's Get Ready to Caaaaaaaave!!!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Let's Get Ready to Caaaaaaaave!!!

It appears the conservative caving process is in full swing. Sigh.

I knew legislators standing up to the Court was probably too good to last. Junior Ryckman, angling for a job as Kansas House Speaker and eventually Congressman Kevin Yoder's seat, has submitted a letter seeking a special session to address the Court's demands. As one savvy insider put it: He apparently attended the McConnell/Boehner School of Leadership.

Meanwhile, Kansas Policy Institute --et tu, KPI?-- has released an editorial saying legislators should act like the "adults in the room" and call a special session to address the issue. Also calling for a special session? Anthony Hensley, the Kansas Senate Minority Leader, and Tom Borroughs, Kansas House Minority Leader.

While I understand the line of political thought that suggests the Legislature needs to get back in there and create the appearance that it's doing something, I think the special session sends the message that the Court indeed does have the authority to close the schools. I also hold out absolutely no hope that a special session ends in any way that's agreeable to conservatives. The new conservative slogan: We Cave First! Always! 

Holding a special session confirms in the minds of the people and in the minds of the Kansas Supreme Court Injustices that they have the authority to close the schools. This is a horrible precedent that allows this clown show, in which seven people selected by a secret committee of lawyers grabs the State's purse strings and beats taxpayers with it, to continue.

As of now, the Senate appears to be standing strong. The House is crumbling, though it appears Speaker Ray Merrick, who isn't standing for re-election, is standing firm.

Unfortunately, it's politics time, and this means the ambitious will have a difficult time holding the line. Perhaps the most courageous person in this entire mess to date, is the Shawnee Mission School District Superintendent Jim Hinson. Hinson told reporters last week that SMSD has the money to open and run as planned for the first few months of the school year. And barring a court order, he intends to open the schools with the understanding that the legislature will need to adopt a long term fix that ends continued school funding litigation.

I have a fix for ending the litigation: Stop turning over your power to the Courts, legislators. When they step out of line, as they clearly did with their asinine opinion stating the justices would close the schools over a 1 percent funding discrepancy, you must stand up and call their bluff.

There are a variety of reasons why that's a reasonable solution. First, the Court cannot be allowed to continually hold school children hostage to its whims. 

If Court members take a break from their Italian villas to issue court orders to close every school district, then there's a case that can be made to the federal courts. (This is a long convoluted bunch of legalistic garbage, but in short -- only special needs children have a federal right to an education. If the schools close, there's a case to be made federally.) Obviously, that's not where anyone wants this to go, but if legislators call a special session sometime after June 30, the ball is in Kansas Supreme Court's court. 

Second, I have a suspicion that the very last thing the Kansas Supreme Court wants is to be embarrassingly slapped down by the federal courts yet again. Seriously, when a Kansas Supreme Court case ends up tested in federal court, our justices look like total clowns. It's really an embarrassment.

My hope is that the Governor will stand strong against this pressure to acquiesce to the Court's demands. It's unfortunate that now the Governor must stand strong against his allies as well, but that's where we're at. Sigh.

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