Court clerk fired after attacking Phill Kline in tweets during ethics hearing
Topeka, KS, Nov. 20, 2012 (OperationRescue.org) – A court clerk who posted tweets attacking pro-life former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline from the courtroom during an ethics hearing at the state’s Supreme Court last week has been fired.
Supreme Court Chief Justice Lawton Nuss announced late yesterday that the Court has fired Sarah Peterson Herr. He said her case has been “referred to other offices for possible ethics violations.”
In her tweets Herr had called Kline a “douche bag” and indicated she had insider knowledge on how some of the judges would rule. She predicted that Kline would be disbarred for “not less than 7 years,” and accused Kline’s investigation into the illegal practices of late-term abortionist George Tiller of leading to Tiller’s murder.
As attorney general, Kline brought 107 charges of performing illegal post-viability abortions and falsifying records against Planned Parenthood. That resulted in a backlash that has forced him to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars, and innumerable hours in courtrooms defending himself from highly technical allegations that he misled officials in the course of his investigation.
Pro-life organizations have denounced the ethics complaints against Kline as a politically motivated “witch hunt.”
After discovering the offending tweets, the pro-life organization Operation Rescue called for Herr’s firing. Operation Rescue staff member Deborah Myers reported Herr’s tweets to the court, arguing that they were prejudicial. 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.
CLICK ‘LIKE’ IF YOU ARE PRO-LIFE!
Five out of seven Supreme Court justices recused themselves from hearing oral arguments in Kline’s ethics case. Two Appeals Court judges and three District Attorneys replaced the recused Supreme Court justices for Kline’s hearing. Herr’s involvement with the Appeals Court judges added to concerns of court bias.
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.”
Court spokesman Ron Keefover indicated to reporters on Monday that the Court would attempt to seek an independent investigation into bias.
Herr has since locked her Twitter and Facebook accounts. The content of her blog, www.sparklylillife.com, has been removed and the site placed in “Maintenance Mode.”