Kansas Supreme Court Revokes Law License of Anti-Abortion Zealot Former AG
Talk about turnabout being fair play.
In a surprising break with the pattern of looniness that seems to characterize law and politics in the state of Kansas, the state’s Supreme Court on Friday indefinitely suspended the law license of former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline in a unanimous ruling that found Kline had violated 11 rules of professional conduct in the course of directing his department’s epic jihad against abortion providers in the state.
In a 154-page decision, the highest court’s seven judges (five of whom were replacing five sitting jurists who had recused themselves in the case) found that Kline had “failed to recognize” the line between “overzealous advocacy” and his professional obligations as the state’s top prosecutor in his pursuit of an anti-abortion political agenda.
The high court wrote: “The violations we have found are significant and numerous, and Kline's inability or refusal to acknowledge or address their significance is particularly troubling in light of his service as the chief prosecuting attorney for this state and its most populous county."
Many abortion rights defenders in Kansas believe that Kline’s Ahab-like legal assault on late-term abortion provider Dr. George Tiller was a major factor in revving up the hatred among anti-abortion zealots that led one fevered activist associated with the Operation Rescue group to shoot the doctor to death as he was greeting parishioners at his church in 2009. The shooting occurred just a month after AG Kline’s attempt to convict the doctor on a number of criminal allegations produced an acquittal on all counts. (The killer, Scott Roeder, had sat in court through much of the trial.)
Today’s ruling could also provide an opening for another long-time Kline target, Dr. Ann Kristin Neuhaus, an associate of the murdered doctor who provided the second opinions required under state law for patients seeking an abortion from Tiller’s office, to finally get justice. After Tiller’s murder, Kline shifted the focus of his jihad to Neuhaus, opening an investigation into her work as a second-opinion referring doctor. According to Neuhaus’s attorney Bob Eye, Kline’s office ordered her, as part of that investigation, to bring in her patient records. When Neuhaus objected that her patient records were confidential, Kline promised that the confidentiality of the records and her patients would be protected. As Eye put it, “Kline assured her that she’d be leaving his office with her records.”