Thursday, October 27, 2011

How did so many kangaroos get into the judicial system?

Recently, Jill Stanek reported that a Kansas disciplinary panel sent a recommendation to the state Supreme Court that former state Attorney General Phill Kline be indefinitely suspended from practicing law due to ethical misconduct in the pursuit of his investigation of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri. Kline responded by accusing the KSSC of using the ethics process to punish political opponents:

The panel did what they were instructed to do. This is the latest chapter of a [former Kansas governor, now US Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen] Sebelius appointed court covering up for a Sebelius political benefactor in order to protect the flow of hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer dollars.
The Sebelius court joined Planned Parenthood to file this complaint, appointed the prosecutor, appointed the panel and will make the final decision. Our Constitution was created to end such conduct.
The accusation of cronyism took on added weight and dimension when it was revealed the other day that the Kansas Department of Health and Environment destroyed around 2005 key evidence needed in a trial against PPKMM on 107 criminal charges stemming from Kline's investigation. That's the year 2005, as in "on Gov. Sebelius' watch". Even if the document destruction could be justified as routine or mandated by HIPAA or the Privacy Act, there's no way this can look good; it makes PPKMM's counsel's claim that "there is no evidence of any criminal wrongdoing" look disingenuous to say the least: "Of course there's no evidence. That's what a successful cover-up is supposed to accomplish!"

 
And now we learn an ominous twist in a suit brought by former Rep. Steve Driehaus' (D-OH)  against Susan B. Anthony List for "loss of livelihood". Turns out that the judge who allowed the suit to go forward, Ohio U.S. District Court Judge Timothy S. Black, was a director and president of the Planned Parenthood Association of Cincinnati. The source of this information is a questionnaire Judge Black, an Obama appointee, filled out for the Senate Judiciary Committee. Driehaus' suit should have been thrown out as baseless and frivolous; no one is entitled to a seat in Congress, and voters are not required to continue incumbents in office. Instead, Black gave it the green light, and will be the judge hearing the case.

Furthermore, the suit was filed under Ohio's False Statement Act, which as Peter Roff of US News and World Report observes "goes directly at the heart of our First Amendment protections and criminalizes what is at least a difference of opinion." Barbara Hollingsworth of the Washington Examiner reports that SBA List is requesting permission to challenge the law's constitutionality before the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals [? Okay, shows how little I know of the procedural side of the law: you gotta request permission?].

As we've seen, most recently in San Francisco, the supporters of the abortion industry are willing to go to great lengths to shut the pro-life movement up. Although previous efforts to constrict pro-life counseling have mostly foundered on the rock of the First Amendment, we no longer have any real guarantee that in the next five or ten years SCOTUS won't find a rationale that permits "gag laws" to be used as progressivist ratchets. After all, previous Courts have found rationales to circumvent the unborn's Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment due-process right in favor of an unwritten and inexplicable "right of privacy" they later walked back (while yet maintaining a right to abort that holds itself up in the air by its belt loops). American culture in general may be swinging back in a pro-life direction, but the "culture of death" has had plenty of time to subvert the legal profession in its favor.

Keep your eyes peeled, folks. The battle isn't won yet.

[N.B.: This post originally jumped off from Stephen White's post in CatholicVote.org. However, both he and Peter Roff referenced Barbara Hollingsworth as a source, who referenced as her source ... Jill Stanek. Keep those fingers typing, Jill, you're making a difference!]