Chutzpah, Modern Edition

Chutzpah is a yiddish word meaning gall or nerve–but to the nth degree. Remember this oldie? “Question: what’s an example of chutzpah? Answer: a man kills his mother and father, then throws himself on the mercy of the court because he’s an orphan.”

The Kansas legislature has updated the concept.

After Kansas courts ordered the state legislature to provide more funding for K-12 education, the legislature passed and sent to the governor a bill (HB 2338) that provides as follows:

1)      It allocates $2 million additional funding for the Kansas judiciary for the upcoming fiscal year;

2)     It increases various court fees;

3)      It strips the Kansas Supreme Court of the power to control local court budgets, personnel systems, and manage other administrative costs;

4)      It strips the Kansas Supreme Court of its existing power to designate local Chief Judges;

5)      And–ta da!– the icing on the chutzpah cake: it provides that if the Court strikes down any of these provisions as unconstitutional, the entire bill fails (including and most especially the extra funding).

File under “we’ll show you!”

The Chief Justice of the Kansas Supreme Court has pointed out that this bill is a direct assault on judicial independence–a major element of our constitutional system.

How much would you like to bet that the lawmakers who passed this measure carry small copies of the Constitution in their pockets, wear flag pins, and piously proclaim their devotion to “original intent”?

Assaulting separation of powers, the very basis of our constitutional architecture, while proclaiming your devotion to the nation’s charter–that’s chutzpah!


  1. It has always been beyond my understanding how states – and the federal government – manage to write and pass bills that contain control over issues not in keeping with the origin of the proposed bill. Does the Kansas Supreme Court control K-12 eduction in that state. On the federal level I am still confused as to how the Farm Bill cut food stamps. Yes, yes, yes; I do know that farms produce food but that has no connection to public assistance for millions of needy in this country any more than the Kansas Supreme Court has to their public education system. This propsed bill does provide proof of one fact; not all government fools are in Indiana or in southern states.

    This situation also provides proof that the upcoming primary elections are vital if we hope to change things in this entire country, state by state. We are circling the bowl when bills such as the aforementioned Kansas bill has a chance to pass and pass along ideas to other states – such as Indiana – to follow suit.

  2. Indiana has done the same thing to schools. The legislature passed property tax caps to cap school funding – with the promise that the state would fund schools.

    Then they cut STATE funding for years in a rows, said schools weren’t succeeding, drained them further to finance charter and voucher schools, and then passed legislation to assign schools an A-F rating so that ‘F’ schools would be taken over by the state.

    State starvation of schools enabled the state to accuse them of malnutrition and remove them from local governance. Chutzpah indeed.

  3. I think you have enough for at least two more posts: (1) Eric Turner and (2) Zeke Turner’s awful “letter to the editor/commentary/infomercial in Sunday Star. He’s as shameless as his old man and the Star is shameless for printing it.

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