Ex-Kansas attorney general sues to regain suspended law license

Reuters News
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Posted: Oct 19, 2015 4:37 PM

By Kevin Murphy

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (Reuters) - Former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline has filed a federal lawsuit challenging the state Supreme Court's decision to suspend his law license after finding that he violated 11 rules of professional conduct in prosecuting abortion providers.

Kline, whose license was suspended indefinitely two years ago, said the Kansas Supreme Court had no standing to hear the case because five of seven justices recused themselves and were replaced by lower court judges.

Kansas law requires at least four justices to hear a case and only two remained, Kline said in the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court late on Sunday. He also said illegal or arbitrary actions violated his rights under the U.S. Constitution.

Lawyers for Kline said the indefinite suspension was biased and politically motivated.

"What he encountered was the tentacles of the abortion industry, apparently touching and corrupting everything in its way," lawyer Thomas Condit said on Monday in a news release.

Kansas Supreme Court officials had not read the lawsuit and had no comment, a spokesman said. Kline could not be reached immediately for comment.

Kline, 55, is a law professor at Liberty University in Virginia, a position he has held since before the court suspended his license. An outspoken abortion foe, Kline clashed with abortion clinics and women's healthcare provider Planned Parenthood for years over whether they abided by all abortion laws.

The state Supreme Court unanimously ruled for his suspension in October 2013. The court said Kline crossed the line into "overzealous advocacy" as state attorney general and later as district attorney in Johnson County, the most populous county in Kansas. Kline insisted he acted properly.

The Supreme Court faulted Kline for ordering his attorney general staff to attach sealed documents to a public brief and for filing a plea that contained misleading information. Kline as district attorney gave false court testimony about patient records, the court found.

(Editing by David Bailey and Eric Walsh)