The Kansas Supreme Court ruled Monday that justices were not required to recuse themselves from a case that involves a dispute over Supreme Court authority.
Chief Justice Lawton Nuss voluntarily recused himself from the case, Solomon v. Kansas, but the other six justices declined to step aside. Oral arguments are scheduled for Thursday.
At issue is a state law that changed the way chief district judges are selected, removing that authority from the Supreme Court and giving it to district judges.
The proposed change and subsequent legislation was the source of a heated dispute between the Legislature and the judicial branch. The court will decide whether the legislation is constitutional.
The state requested that the justices recuse themselves and be replaced by state Court of Appeals judges.
In the order, the Supreme Court said justices weren’t compelled to recuse themselves by the Kansas Code of Judicial Conduct or any law. Nuss wrote that he “clearly engaged in more direct and indirect public communication on the legislation at issue than any of my colleagues” and decided to recuse himself even though he wasn’t required to do so.