TOPEKA − (October 9, 2015) − Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt today issued the following statement in connection with the plaintiffs’ decision to dismiss Fairchild v. Kansas, the lawsuit filed by four state judges challenging the constitutionality of a provision the Legislature included in the state budget that makes funding for the judiciary contingent upon certain judicial reforms:
“I am grateful for the decision by Chief Judges Fairchild, Wilson and Solomon and Judge Jack to dismiss their lawsuit against the State. I share their view that their original lawsuit needlessly included federal constitutional claims in this state-law dispute.
“I suggest there also is no need to litigate multiple state-law theories as to why the judicial funding provision may be unconstitutional. It is enough that the Kansas Constitution plainly forbids the reduction of judicial salaries in most circumstances, and a cutoff of judicial funding while the Legislature is adjourned and unable to make alternate appropriations would necessarily violate that provision.
“The funding law at issue here already is blocked from taking effect until at least March 15, 2016, by order of Judge Daryl Ahlquist. I filed that lawsuit and obtained that injunction on September 22 to give all involved, including both the Legislature and the Judiciary, an opportunity to avoid escalating their fight. The injunction is unquestionably valid and binding throughout the State of Kansas.
“Therefore, I respectfully encourage the plaintiffs who have dismissed their lawsuit in Fairchild v. Kansas to take yes for an answer. The funding law to which they object already is blocked by judicial order. If the Legislature does not react appropriately once it reconvenes in January, then the plaintiffs would of course be free to file whatever lawsuit they wish. But to proceed with yet more litigation at this time challenging a law that already is blocked from entering into force seems to me a waste of everyone's time and money.
“I again encourage restraint by all involved.”