Barring the unforeseen, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee will vote along party lines today to approve the nomination of Stephen Six to the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The vote will be much closer than anyone anticipated a month ago. The minority Republicans have become increasingly aware of why it was that Six was nominated and increasingly wary of approving him.
Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley led the charge on the committee, and the two Kansas senators, Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran, have gone public with their discontent.
“After thoroughly reviewing Mr. Six’s record and his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, I will not support his nomination to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals,” said Roberts. “I have urged my colleagues on the committee to vote against his nomination.”
An examination of that testimony shows that Six has much hide. It shows too the absurdly overused strategy he used to hide it.
At the May 23 hearing, Grassley wasted no time in getting to the heart of the matter. He observed that when then Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius appointed Six state attorney general, “there was an ongoing controversy related to the investigation with Dr. [George] Tiller and a Planned Parenthood Clinic and the allegations that they were performing illegal late-term abortions.”
Despite active obstruction from Six’s Democratic predecessor, Republican District Attorney Phill Kline continued to pursue charges against Planned Parenthood.
Kline did so, as Grassley noted, because “Judge [Richard] Anderson testified that there were discrepancies in the Planned Parenthood medical records and that those discrepancies raised, ‘substantial factual and legal issues about their competence within the law.’”
“My first question,” Grassley asked Six, “if you were aware of Judge Anderson’s concerns about the medical records prior to making your decision, why didn’t you reopen the investigation?”
Had he answered honestly, Six might have said, “Are you kidding? Sebelius would never have appointed me attorney general unless she was confident I would deep-six this mother.”
Indeed, while these investigations were under way, Sebelius had been publicly partying – as in “leading a conga line” partying – with Planned Parenthood.
With the notorious Tiller, Sebelius had been more discreet. She had quietly entertained him and his staff at the governor’s mansion for a post-election victory party, again while he was under criminal investigation. Too bad those photos leaked out.
Unable to answer honestly, Six reverted to the well worn “sensitivity” gambit. These were “sensitive medical records,” he argued. “We were very sensitive about that because the prior attorney general is before the disciplinary board of our state now and has been sanctioned in limited ways by the Supreme Court over various activities relating to that.”
The prior attorney general Six refers to is Phill Kline. Kline served in that office before the state’s abortion industry invested some $2 million to defeat him in 2006.
Kline continued his investigation into Planned Parenthood when elected to finish the term of the district attorney who beat him, Paul Morrison. Morrison promptly disgraced himself in a seamy sex scandal and was replaced by Six.
Kline is, in fact, facing a disciplinary hearing by the Sebelius-appointed Supreme Court. It was not that he was insensitive with the records. It was that he dared to investigate them, an investigation that led to the first criminal case ever brought against Planned Parenthood anywhere in America.
The “sensitivity” issue has been a red herring from the beginning. Morrison had used it to shut down the cases Kline had opened, but Judge Anderson would not buy it.
“Petitioner [Morrison] also obfuscates the nature of (the) documents … by repeated references to ‘sensitive’ and ‘highly sensitive’ nature of the records,” Anderson testified in October 2007. “Petitioner either misunderstands or is misrepresenting the true nature of the records. … The records have been redacted as to remove all identifying information.”
“As to the second part, the privacy interests of the [Planned Parenthood] patients,” said Anderson under oath in November 2007, “those records have been so well redacted that the attorney general [Morrison] could not even identify a person that had come forward and testified to the Legislature about her circumstances with Dr. Tiller’s office.”
Six’s prevarications do not end here. Those interested in seeing just how creative he had to be to protect the Sebelius administration would do well to visit this site.
Sebelius pulled out all the stops to assure that the conservative state of Kansas remained the world’s late-term abortion capital. This has included punishing Kline and rewarding Six.
To publicly rebuke Sebelius will likely take the votes of 41 Republicans on the Senate floor. Let us see if they are “insensitive” enough to do so.