Yael T. Abouhalkah

Courts rule against Gov. Sam Brownback’s positions on schools, gays and abortion

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has had a very bad last 24 or so hours.
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has had a very bad last 24 or so hours. AP

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback sounded really cranky Friday. And who could blame him?

It’s been a bad 24 or so hours for the Republican leader of the Sunflower State, especially when it comes to court decisions.

▪ Early Friday afternoon, a three-member judicial panel in Kansas issued a finding that block-grant funding for K-12 schools is unconstitutional.

This is the plan supported by Brownback and passed into law by the Legislature — which finally on Friday ended its record 114-day session and headed for home.

While it’s way too early to say what this means — and the ruling likely will be appealed — this is a major defeat for Brownback. He had pushed the block grants as the best way to keep schools operating while getting away from the old school finance formula he detested.

▪ On Friday morning, after the U.S. Supreme Court’s excellent gay marriage ruling, Brownback blasted the decision this way:

“Activist courts should not overrule the people of this state, who have clearly supported the Kansas Constitution’s definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman. We will review the ruling carefully to understand its effects on the people of Kansas.”

Here’s the effect, governor: The highest court in the land has made a legal ruling and you, as an elected official in the great state of Kansas, need to make sure everyone abides by it, as much as you might not like it.

You know, just like the Democrats had to abide by the 2000 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that George W. Bush had been elected president over Al Gore.

▪ On Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Obamacare was here to stay.

That immediately put pressure on Kansas and other states to finally expand Medicaid assistance for the poor.

Alas, a brusque Brownback would have none of it, saying the ruling would not change his stance on expanding Medicaid coverage.

▪ Also Thursday, a judge granted a temporary injunction that blocked an abortion bill supported by Brownback from going into effect on July 1.

As he has most years, the governor has celebrated the state’s attempts to roll back abortion rights for women, and this law was just another example.

Here’s hoping the judge’s decision is upheld on appeal.

Yes, Sam Brownback was not in a great mood on Friday, and it’s easy to see why.

To reach editorial page columnist Yael T. Abouhalkah, call 816-234-4887 or send email to abouhalkah@kcstar.com. Twitter @YaelTAbouhalkah.

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