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Archive for August, 2012

Judge Arnold-Burger

Former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline is appealing a ruling last year by the state’s Board for Discipline of Attorneys that his Kansas law license be revoked for “misleading” actions undertaken when he worked to prosecute illegal late-term abortions.

This week, he is once again seeking recusal of a judge on the state Supreme Court panel scheduled to review his license appeal.  A few months ago, Kline’s legal team was phenomenally successful; they submitted documentation arguing that at least two of the seven state Supreme Court justices were hopelessly biased against him and the result was historic– five sitting justices recused themselves!

To fill those five positions, three district judges, and two appellate judges were selected. It is Court of Appeals Judge Karen Arnold-Burger that is now being asked to recuse herself in Kline’s filing, because she

“has already announced her views on these matters in a way to impugn Mr. Kline before the state judiciary.

As reported Monday in the Topeka Capital Journal, Kline’s attorney, Tom Condit, said the motion urging Arnold-Burger’s recusal “was filed Friday after Kline discovered the judge’s role in ‘publishing a factually inaccurate, if not dishonest, newsletter to judges throughout Kansas that further distorted and demeaned the professional conduct of Mr. Kline.’ ”

The newsletter in question is The Verdict, a publication for Kansas lower court judges, edited solely by Arnold-Burger, and which folded after she was appointed to the Court of Appeals in 2010. But in early 2009, The Verdict featured a negative article on Kline, including (according to Kline’s motion)“twelve statements [that] read like a pro-abortion editorial, and are famously inaccurate.”

Kline argues that two judicial ethics rules are in play: 1) a judge must not make public comments on impending cases, and 2) a judge is disqualified from any proceeding in which the judge’s
impartiality might reasonably be questioned.

The action to pull Kline’s license was a ‘payback’ virtually promised by Justice Carol Beier, the author of both state Supreme Court rulings for Planned Parenthood protracted lawsuits in which Kline prevailed. Justice Beier’s animus against Kline was so out of bounds in the majority opinion that the two most senior justices backed away from Beier’s “threatened penalties” to Kline and complained that the ruling had been used “as a platform from which it can denigrate Kline for actions that it cannot find to have been in violation of any law.”

Prosecution for some of those Planned Parenthood illegal late-term abortions in 2003 are still headed for trial. Unfortunately, it was only last fall that the current prosecutor of the suit discovered that crucial state evidence to secure convictions had been shredded by the Sebelius’ administration in 2005 and by her hand-picked attorney general in 2009.

Kline had to press the state supreme court justices to step aside from judging his appeal; now he is exposing the bias of one appellate replacement.

This is “another disturbing revelation about the lack of neutrality in the Kansas disciplinary and judicial systems,” said Condit. “I cannot say that those controlling the Kansas disciplinary process are deliberately stacking the deck against Mr. Kline. I just cannot imagine how things would be any different if they were,” Condit said.

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Kansas pro-lifers can rejoice in Tuesday’s primary results because pro-life candidates, including incumbents, were victorious.

Kansans for Life’s endorsed candidates won handily: In the House, 74%  (31 of 42 races) and in the Senate, 77% (24 of 31 races).

These elections were characterized as a referendum on pro-life Gov. Sam Brownback’s conservative agenda, with the media repeatedly identifying economic conservative groups as major players.  But the GOP rout depended on the candidates’ pro-life credentials and is a reflection of Kansas pro-life persistence, hard work and prayer.

KFL executive director Mary Kay Culp explained: “This continued pattern of electing pro-life legislators is inspired by more than a decade of frustration with the failure to prosecute fraudulent late-term abortions, the Senate resistance to toughening abortion laws, the shameless shredding of evidence of criminal abortion by the Sebelius administration, and the failure of the Senate to throw out the worst state judicial process in the nation, as we watch newly-passed pro-life bills sit in court or head to our extremely liberal state Supreme Court.”

The Senate results were truly stunning: eight ‘moderate’ GOP Senators, including the Kansas Senate President, Steve Morris (with a huge war chest) all lost their primaries Tuesday to authentically pro-life challengers endorsed and promoted by the Kansans for Life political action committee. In addition to Morris, the exiting Senators are: Pete Brungardt (Salina), Bob Marshall (Fort Scott), Tim Owens (Overland Park), Roger Reitz (Manhattan), Jean Schodorf (Wichita), Ruth Teichman (Stafford) and Dwayne Umbarger (Thayer).

Senate President Morris came into his leadership position with a pro-life record, but then betrayed it by rigging Senate committees with pro-abortion majorities and working behind the scenes to hurt pro-life bills! But due to the pro-life routing of ‘moderates’, there is a real possibility that after the November elections, as many as 32 out of 40 Kansas Senate seats could be filled by trusted pro-lifers!

While seven of KFL-endorsed Senate candidates were defeated, in three of those contests, the successful challengers are also pro-life! In fact, the problem KFL faced this cycle was a never-before last minute reconfiguring of legislative districts in June by federal judges. This caused some districts to have two, or even three, proven pro-life incumbent legislators competing with each other.  This problem also stemmed from Morris and his ‘moderate’ GOP associates; they pushed unfair redistricting maps until the legislative session ran out of time and the feds had to do the job—giving us the distinction of being the only state in the nation to fail to fix their maps to reflect census changes (read more here).

By the end of Tuesday evening, only two pro-abortion-voting GOP ‘moderate’ Senators survived KFL candidate challenges: Jay Emler (Lindsborg) and Vicki Schmidt (Topeka).

The retention of Schmidt by only 159 votes is particularly disheartening, as her challenger was Joe Patton, a pro-life champion, three-term state representative, and one of the founders of Kansans for Life. State election reports last week showed Schmidt spent over $200,000 where Patton had spent approximately $60,000 in the same reporting period. The race was not only the most expensive in Kansas electoral history, nasty ads supporting Schmidt were acknowledged by the Topeka newspaper to contain “easily disproved” smears against Patton.

According to the Wichita Eagle, Sen. Carolyn McGinn acknowledged the loss of fellow GOP ‘moderates’ in the Senate: “Wow,” she said. “What kind of life is that going to be?”

Kansans for Life’s answer to that question is: “It will be wonderful!”

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