As a trained journalist, I know a lot of ways to interpret facts and check my theories. I'm hoping you can participate in a brief poll right now if you have time. It's going to sound extremely scientific, and it is, and please
don't think I'm talking down to you just because you might not comprehend the advanced theories and methodologies used here. This one's for Kansans only.
Ready? OK, deep breath. Look to your left, spot the closest person. Got them? Good. Now, look to your right and again, take note of the closest person on that side. Well done. Now, counting yourself, have at least two people in this equation aborted a fetus in the third trimester?
I was trying to figure out why two-thirds of you would so consistently vote to keep your state Supreme Court Justices when, according to Kansans For Life, these activist judges are just barely restraining themselves from personally plucking every fetus in the Sunflower State. I guess you guys grow more than just corn and sorrow.
But in the face of overwhelming public approval for judges, Kansans For Life
has started the "Fire Beier
" campaign, named for Justice Carol Beier
, who wrote opinions criticizing former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline
. If you don't remember him -- thank your own personal creator -- Kline was the AG who used fake stats, lies, and political pressure to get confidential medical records on an estimated 221 women who visited doomed Wichita abortion-provider George Tiller
, including name, address, and phone number. Because he needed to know what was going on in every uterus in Kansas. He actually considered a miniaturized version of one of those cameras that catches people running red lights that he could install above your ovaries. Then he could get a digital pic every time a stray sperm wiggled against an ovum. Well ... that's what I heard, anyway.
Justice Beier was on the right side of history. Kline's lengthy, expensive, and legally and morally bankrupt process ended in a slew of misdemeanor charges against Tiller in 2006, which were promptly thrown out of court. One year later, Kline tried to get Tiller again with a 19-count indictment, but the doctor walked following an actual trial where you have to have evidence and junk. Not only was this an enormous waste of time and money, it also resulted in an as-yet unresolved ethics complaint
filed against Kline for violating the rules of professional conduct. Whoops! Whoops!
On their side, Kansans For Life argues that the only reason Beier wouldn't go along is because "when abortion crimes are being investigated all the rules change
." But KFL members tend to think all abortion is a crime, no matter what the law says, so it's hard to think of any scenario where they wouldn't say the clinic was in the wrong. Believe me, I know. I was in the group for two months (see my feature, "A Day in the Right to Life
"). These are people who could blame Tiller for getting himself shot and killed during a church service.
It's not only Beier they're after. They're also trying to boot Chief Justice Lawton Nuss
and justices Dan Biles
and Marla Luckert
In Kansas, the only way to become a state justice is if the governor
picks you from the finalists selected by nominating commissions with no
involvement by legislators. Ideally this minimizes the impact politics
will have on law -- impossible as it often seems to entirely keep the one
from the other. The people of Kansas must trust these choices, since
they've never voted out a single judge. As I already mentioned, a judge has never received less than two-thirds of the vote for retention. Also, a state commission on
judicial performance recommended keeping all four of the judges. These
are not people doing bad work.
It's uncertain exactly how the KFL plan is supposed to realistically play out beyond step one. The whole process of appointing people to the court is designed to be so free from flesh-pressing, smiles, and bullshit, that there aren't even any campaign finance laws for a political campaign against a judge. No one ever thought there would be a campaign to regulate. That's good for KFL because they can keep all their finances secret, unlike, say, a normal smear job to remove someone from office when all of your donors become public record and have to actually admit they want babies carried to term. I assume that's why KFL isn't releasing names and numbers. The shame of it all.