Off The Record: On Religion, Politics & Equality
So, I just straight up asked: do you think there is a chance the Kansas Supreme Court will suspend Kline’s license? Without pause, his answer was “absolutely.”
Former Kansas AG, Phill Kline
I wrote a post this week about what I believe to be big news in Kansas: the recommendation by an ethics panel to suspend the license of former Kansas AG Phill Kline. Kline relentlessly harassed murdered abortion provider Dr. George Tiller with erroneous litigation, he lied repeatedly to the courts and obtained the medical records of scores of women seeking reproductive health care.
When it comes to abortion rights, Kansas is a train-wreck. I thought for sure once again, a woman’s right to an abortion, to privacy, and the shrugging off of a man’s death because he was an abortion provider would rule the day and Phill Kline would go on to whatever fame is reserved for such right-wing zealots. The panel’s recommendation is nothing short of a coup.
I was energized by the news. However, my enthusiasm quickly waned when I realized the ultimate decision to suspend Kline’s license lay with the Kansas Supreme Court.
I contacted an acquaintance that covers Kansas’s courts for a sizable local newspaper to check the temperature on the Kline case. With his eyes on the courts – an educated observer – I consider him more than qualified for comment. So, I just straight up asked: do you think there is a chance the Kansas Supreme Court will suspend Kline’s license? Without pause, his answer was “absolutely.” Given the state of abortion rights in Kansas his swift, decisive answer was momentarily breathtaking.
My friend (who requested to not be identified by name) told me Kansas had come close to holding Kline in contempt before because of his propensity to lie to the courts. And, because the complaint against Kline was filled by a Johnson County grand jury “just regular citizens without a personal agenda” – he doesn’t see a way the Kansas Supreme court couldn’t follow the ethics panel recommendation for suspension. He even went so far as to predict the KSC would disbar Phill Kline.
I hope he is right. In a state ruled by a Governor Brownback – Roman Catholic and attendee of Governor Rick Perry’s prayer rally – and with some of the most offensive anti-choice bills either on the books or in the hopper, it is hard to be hopeful. If the Kansas Supreme Court upholds the panels recommendation Kline would be able to challenge the ruling, as well as the panel’s findings.
However that is unlikely. Kline’s license to practice law in Kansas has lapsed and he has said he’s not interested in practicing there again anyway. Kline is now installed at Liberty University teaching law. Liberty was founded by notable women’s rights advocate, Jerry Falwell in 1971 to “train champions of Christ” to implement a Christian worldview no matter what their field.
Liberty Law School, for example, teaches future attorneys to place “God’s Law” over man’s law, their obligation when faced with the contradiction between the two is to disobey man’s law through civil disobedience. Kline fits into this design perfectly.
We will have to wait and see what the Kansas Supreme Court rules regarding Kline. Chances are it won’t make any difference to him – but it will may a big difference to women in Kansas and throughout the US.