Thursday, January 21, 2010

Karma can be a bitch

Nearly five years ago, back in February 2005, as part of a post on privacy matters I addressed the "unbelievably slimy" effort by Phill Kline, then the attorney general of Kansas, to force abortion clinics turn over the complete medical records of nearly 90 women and girls, claiming he needed them for an investigation into underage sex and illegal late-term abortions.

Not just information actually necessary for such a weirdly-combined investigation, but the complete, unedited medical records - records which would include the patient's name, medical history, and details of her sex life, birth control practices, and psychological profile.

He initially won in court but eventually the effort failed.

That wasn't Kline only claim to infamy: If the name sounds familiar it's probably because he was also the man who persecuted Dr. George Tiller for years.

Which gives me not one but two good reasons to take open delight in the fact that TPM reports that he is now facing an ethics complaint charging him with a large-scale abuse of office. He stands
accused of dispatching staff to record license plates of women entering George Tiller's abortion clinic, getting records from a motel where patients stayed, and obtaining state medical files under false pretenses, then retaining them after his term as AG was over and repeatedly lying about it in court. ...

Kline is also accused of violating professional standards by appearing on the O'Reilly Factor five days before the 2006 election to talk about his pursuit of Tiller, flouting a warning from the state Supreme Court not to publicize legal positions.
The complaint was filed by the state's disciplinary administrator, who reports to the state Supreme Court. Kline will appear before a state board in May and could lose his law license. That wouldn't make up for what he put Dr. Tiller, Planned Parenthood and other agencies, and a number of Kansas women through - but it would be sweet nonetheless.

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