In a legal ethics case that has been heavily tainted by the abortion debate, former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline has petitioned the United States Supreme Court to review and overturn a Kansas Supreme Court decision suspending his law license. This punishment was levied as a result of his legal actions against Kansas abortion clinics. Life Legal Defense Foundation is supporting Kline in his quest to have the highly prejudicial and punitive Kansas decision overturned.
“The request to the U.S. Supreme Court is loaded with support from other state courts and legal commentators. It asks the Court to rein in unforeseeable ‘gotcha’ ethics violations, which are especially relevant to lawyers dealing with politically contentious legal proceedings and invite political ‘witch hunts,'” stated Tom Condit, lead attorney for Phill Kline.
Kline’s case hinges on the court’s selective application of these ill-defined “catch-all” attorney disciplinary rules in a way that has punished Kline for his pro-life political views. The court suspended Kline’s law license. The petition stipulates that it did so by second guessing tough judgment calls that Kline was forced to make. The difficulty lay in the particularly novel situations, some of which were created by the Kansas Supreme Court itself. The brief also demonstrates the court’s clear enhancement of Kline’s punishment because of his political viewpoint.
Dana Cody, President and Executive Director of Life Legal Defense Foundation, said, “Phill Kline’s ethics case has always carried a strong flavor of political persecution, a perception validated by how many of his so-called ‘violations’ arose from factual and legal novelties.”
Cody noted that one disturbing factor in this case is that while Kline was punished harshly for minor, if not irrelevant, inaccuracies in what he and his staff wrote or said, the Kansas Supreme Court opinion was itself indefensibly wrong on the facts and the law. The petition does not, she explained, expect the U.S. Supreme Court, having limited jurisdiction, to correct all of those errors but asks the Court to rein in how those vague ethics rules can be used to blind-side unsuspecting attorneys.