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Research attorney Sarah Peterson Herr, who clerks for the Judge Christel E. Marquardt of the Kansas Court of Appeals, has been suspended indefinitely for sending a series of nasty tweets while sitting in on an ethics hearing for former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline.
According to judicial branch spokesman Ron Keefover, an internal investigation is now being conducted.
Kline attorneys, however, do not believe that the human resources department should be conducting the investigation. As they see it, the outrageous nature of the tweets and their easy acceptance by Herr’s colleagues speak to a much graver problem than Herr’s employment. They would like to see an independent investigation, conducted by an entity other than the court itself.
In the way of background, as attorney general and later as a county district attorney, Kline brought criminal charges against Planned Parenthood in Kansas when then-Gov. Kathleen Sebelius was entertaining the top ranks of the state’s abortion industry personally.
Kline’s investigation revealed, among other problems, that Planned Parenthood allegedly failed to report hundreds of cases of child sexual abuse as required by law.
These charges had national implications, as the impact of a conviction would ripple all across the abortion industry leader’s domain.
Wanting to make an example of Kline lest some other prosecutor challenge Planned Parenthood in the future, the activists on the state Supreme Court, all appointed by Sebelius, who is Health and Human Service Secretary under the pro-abortion Barack Obama, prompted a protracted ethics probe into Kline’s handling of his investigation into Planned Parenthood and the late abortionist George Tiller.
The court appointed the ethics prosecutor and was set to make the final decision until Kline filed a motion to remove the justices. The motion pointed out that Sebelius appointees had misrepresented the record and wrongfully interfered with a legitimate investigation.
They had even silenced a witness who incriminated Planned Parenthood in criminal activity. After Kline filed the motion, five justices removed themselves from the case.
The oral argument on Thursday took place before two sitting Supreme Court justices and five specially appointed justices. There is no prediction on when the court will decide.
As these proceedings played out, Herr busily tweeted several interested colleagues. At least four of them responded, all of them in the affirmative.
“Love Twitter today live tweet of Phil Kline from @sparklylillife,” responded one colleague. “Yep, @sparklylillife is killing it!” another responded.
There is only one appellate court in Kansas and it is in the same building as the Supreme Court. The Kline people have long complained about a corrupt court culture, and nothing in Herr’s tweets put their minds at rest.
Although Kansas is among the most conservative states in the union, the state’s judicial system has long been controlled by liberals.
Herr obviously feels right at home. “I’m a little like superman,” she tweeted shortly before the election, “with my @barackobama shirt under my sweater.”
Herr got her law degree from Washburn University in Topeka. The judge for whom she clerks, Marquardt, was appointed to university’s board of regents by Sebelius, a proud public champion of Planned Parenthood.
Alarming to Kline’s advocates is that law clerks are typically the ones who do the majority of research and write the court’s preliminary decisions.
“You can watch that naughty naughty boy, Mr. Kilein (sic), live!” Herr tweets at the beginning of the proceedings and supplies the appropriate link.
Herr is clearly no fan of Kline. She asks rhetorically early in the proceedings, “Why is Phil Klein (sic) smiling? There is nothing to smile about, douchebag.”
An hour later, based perhaps on inside information, Herr attempts to foretell Kline’s future: “I predict that he will be disbarred for a period not less than 7 years.”
Before the proceedings were over, Herr sent a half dozen more snarky, self-satisfied tweets, seemingly secure in her belief that no one in her legal circle would find them inappropriate.
Kline’s attorney, Tom Condit, most certainly did. Based on Herr’s comments, he worried that the court had decided Kline’s fate even before reviewing the evidence.
“This is a troubling revelation that is degrading to the Kansas Appellate Courts,” said Condit. “The unavoidable question is: how prevalent is that attitude elsewhere on the court staff? This will not enhance public confidence in the courts. An investigation is warranted. I will await further developments.”