Tag Archives: courts

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!