KS Supreme Court hears arguments in Gov. Kelly lawsuit, plans to work fast on decision

Published: Apr. 11, 2020 at 11:02 AM CDT
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The Kansas Supreme Court heard oral arguments Saturday morning in a lawsuit that Gov. Laura Kelly filed against the Legislative Coordinating Council for blocking Executive Order 20-18.

All seven Supreme Court Justices and counsel from both sides were on a livestream video conference to argue the case.

Gov. Kelly is being represented by Chief Counsel Clay Britton and the LCC by Brad Schlozman and Ed Greim.

The LCC said they acted on behalf of the members of the legislature because the governor's order singled out religion, which they said is unconstitutional.

The Governor said they did not have that authority and their attempt to do so through House Concurrent Resolution 5025 was ineffective.

During the arguments both sides had an opportunity to give their statements.

Schlozman said, "During these extraordinary times when you've got the legislature not able to reconvene because of this pandemic emergency, we would construe them as out of session. When the legislature broke off here in the last month there was an expectation that they would be out of session and anything else would be left to the LCC to act."

He added, "Now I understand that statutory text controls, but the language was written so that the LCC would ultimately have the check that's being exercised right now."

Britton said, "The question before the court is whether a seven member legislative committee has the power to overrule the governor. The answer is no. The Kansas constitution and the Kansas Emergency Management Act strike a careful balance between executive and legislative authority during an emergency."

He continued saying, "The governor would ask that the court would grant the relief requested in the petition and hold that the LCC action was unlawful and the executive order remains in effect."

After all arguments were heard the court ended the video conference to begin discussion. Chief Justice Marla Luckert said they plan to work fast to reach a decision.