CounterBias sees a problem with Phill Kline:
Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline isn’t a household name yet, but he may be soon. In recent months Mr. Kline has shown that he is the type of judicial nominee that President Bush is looking for. Mr. Kline has that most valuable of assets that right-wing Republicans require of a nominee: a “conservative judicial philosophy.” In recent months he has sought to deny poor women of the right to an abortion, despite federal law to the contrary. And he supported handing out a much harsher sentence to a gay teenager who engaged in consensual sex than to heterosexual adolescents.One of the fun things about being Attorney General is that, a lot like being a judge, you don't always get to pick your cases. Such is the case in these two issues that seem to have Kansas liberals up in arms. Let me preface this by a bit of disclosure: Phill Kline is a friend of mine. He is also one of the two Republicans in the world whose campaigns I'll work on. I've worked with him and for him, and we probably agree 75% or more of the time. How can that be since he (according to Counterbias) "has a penchant for promoting a right-wing, evangelical Christian judicial philosophy," and I'm a libertarian?
The reason is that I, unlike CounterBias apparently, understand the position of the AG as opposed to that of a proponent or a legislator. The "Gay Teenager" (Matthew Limon) case is a perfect example. Phill Kline served about 10 years in the Kansas House, during which time the Romeo and Juliet law was passed. When Phill was in the House, he voted against Romeo and Juliet. He opposed it. As a legislator, he had the right to make that stand, and his opinion was overruled. Romeo and Juliet became the law in Kansas.
Fast forward a few years. Phill Kline is now the Attorney General, charged with defending the state and the legislature in court. Romeo and Juliet is challenged in the courts. What is Phill to do?
He defends the very law he voted against when he was a legislator. Why? Because he's suddenly changed his mind? No, because he's suddenly changed his job. It's no longer his job to vote on the law, but to defend it, which is what he did. As AG, he no longer has the right to oppose the law professionally, even if he opposes it personally. Just like a good judge.
The same is the case with the other lawsuit noted, that Phill "sought to deny poor women the right to abortion." Other than the ludicrous assertion that people have the "right" to have abortions funded by the government, CounterBias leaves out a very relevant fact noted by Knight Ritter at the time the lawsuit was filed:
The Kansas House of Representatives ordered the lawsuit three years ago.In other words, it was his job to file this suit; he was ordered by the elected officials of the Kansas House of Representatives - his bosses - to do so.
This is not to say Phill's not pro-life. He is, and unabashedly. But it is to say that were he to decline to file the suit even though the Kansas House ordered him to file it, he would not only be a poor AG, but would be engaging in the very activism CounterBias falsely accuses him of, putting his own opinion above what the legislators have decided.
The distinction between legislators who make the law and courts who interpret it is one that liberals like those at CounterBias never seem to understand. I can only hope that Phill is appointed a judge someday, because it's a distinction that he not only understands, but respects.
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