A research clerk employed by the Kansas Appeals Court has been fired for tweeting insulting and rude comments about former state Attorney General Phill Kline during a hearing before the state Supreme Court over his pursuit of alleged criminal conduct in the state’s abortion industry.
According to a statement from Kansas Supreme Court Chief Justice Lawton Nuss, Sarah Peterson Herr, who had called Kline a “douchebag” and suggested she had inside information about how the court would rule in Kline’s ethics case, was dismissed.
Nuss said the case was referred to “other offices for possible ethics violations.”
Among her tweeted comments:
“I predict that he will be disbarred for a period not less than 7 years”
“I love that Phil (sic) is talking about Dr. Tiller like they are cool, and not that his witch hunt helped lead to Dr. Tiller’s murder.”
“Why is Phil Klein (sic) smiling? There is nothing to smile about douchebag.”
“You can watch that naughty naughty boy, Mr. Kilein, (sic) live!”
Operation Rescue, which fights the abortion industry nationwide but especially in its home state of Kansas, had called for Herr’s dismissal.
“Operation Rescue was the first to publicly call for her firing on Thursday evening,” the organization said. “Operation Rescue staff member Deborah Myers immediately emailed the court, reporting Herr’s inappropriate tweets and pointing out their prejudicial nature. After a brief e-mail exchange between Ms. Myers and the court on Friday, Herr was suspended with pay. On Monday, she was fired.”
“We join with Phill Kline’s attorney, Tom Condit, in demanding a full and independent investigation into the apparent political bias that has infected the court,” said Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue and Pro-Life Nation.
The group said court spokesman Ron Keefover said Monday the court would attempt to seek an independent investigation into bias.
The court’s bias already had surfaced in a dramatic way when five out of seven Supreme Court justices recused themselves from hearing oral arguments in Kline’s ethics case.
Kline was accused of mishandling criminal investigations into abortion clinics while he served as state attorney general and Johnson County district attorney. After the ethics hearing was set, he challenged the presence of justices who had been biased against him in previous abortion case disputes.
Five other Kansas judges replaced the justices who had participated in some sort of bias against Kline.
Operation Rescue said, “Many familiar with the case believe that Kline’s prosecution is a politically motivated effort to destroy his career and to ensure abortion clinics are never again investigated in Kansas.”
The organization pointed out that research attorneys such as Herr “can heavily influence a judge’s decisions. Job duties include ‘ascertaining facts from a record of legal pleadings and trial transcripts, researching applicable law, and providing comprehensive legal analysis from an objective viewpoint.’”
“Obviously, Ms. Herr was not objective in the extreme and dismissal from her position was appropriate. This begs the question of how her bias many have influenced other cases and if her attitudes are pervasive throughout the rest of the court’s employees,” said Newman. “An independent investigation is necessary to ensure an unbiased judiciary.”
Herr had clerked for the Judge Christel E. Marquardt of the Kansas Court of Appeals.
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 concluded, among other problems, that Planned Parenthood failed to report hundreds of cases of child sexual abuse as required by law.
The charges had national implications, as the impact of a conviction would ripple across the abortion industry leader’s domain.
Judges 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.