Kathleen Kane, Pennsylvania’s Attorney General, has been charged a series of criminal acts. Initially, she was accused of leaking information from a grand jury proceeding allegedly in an effort to embarrass her enemies. Thereafter, she was charged with committing perjury, obstruction and other crimes in an alleged cover-up. As a result of these charges, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has temporarily suspended her license to practice law.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s action was based on a recommendation from its attorney disciplinary board, whose members had voted unanimously to suspend Kane from the practice. Since the State Constitution states that the office of the attorney general must be occupied by a member of the bar, the prospect of Kane’s suspension raised serious questions about her ability to function. Because of this uncertainty, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court specifically recognized Kane’s “continuing authority as attorney general.” Likely that is because while suspended she is still a member of the bar. This suspension would, however, prevent her from taking an active role in any legal matter being handled by her office.
Politicians on both sides of the aisle as well as the Governor have called on Kane to resign. So far, Kane has denied the charges and refused to step down. Republican state law makers are studying the possibility of using a rarely used provision in state law that allows state officials to be removed by the governor “for reasonable cause” with a two-thirds vote of the state senate.
Kane was the first woman and the first Democrat elected to the position of attorney general in Pennsylvania since the office became elective in 1980.
The Court’s Order suspending Kane is here.
New York Times coverage is here.
The Atlantic’s story is here.