Something I didn't know about Phill Kline, the ayatollah wannabe who's the attorney general of Kansas (as reported by Stephanie Simon in the L.A. Times):
In the fall of 2003, he issued an impassioned defense of a Kansas law that subjected sexually active teens to much steeper criminal penalties if they were gay.
In a legal brief, Kline argued that the state should punish a boy who had sex with an underage boy more harshly than a boy who had sex with an underage girl because the heterosexual couple might some day marry, and "marriage creates families" -- a desirable outcome for the state.
Treating "same-sex or bestial contact" the same as Romeo and Juliet pairings "will begin a toppling of dominoes which is likely to end with the Kansas marriage law on the scrapheap," he wrote.
"Same-sex or bestial conduct." Yikes.
You remember Phill Kline, of course:
Kansas law permits abortions late in pregnancy only if the woman would otherwise face "a substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function." To Kline, this means her physical health must be gravely threatened.
That interpretation is at odds with a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that restrictions on abortion must include exceptions for the woman's mental as well as physical health.
Nonetheless, Kline is weighing criminal charges against doctors who may have terminated advanced pregnancies out of concern for the mother's psychological state. Seeking evidence, he is demanding access to dozens of patient medical records; the abortion clinics are appealing.
That's typical Kline -- he doesn't much care for the plain text of legal decisions when they interfere with his theology:
A federal judge in Georgia recently ordered the removal of stickers in biology textbooks telling students that "evolution is a theory, not a fact."
Soon after, Kline told conservative members of the Kansas Board of Education that he would back them if they put similar stickers on textbooks — a move the board had not even considered when the attorney general brought it up.
Kline is vague on how he would overcome the legal objections raised by the Georgia judge, but he insists he could.
See, this is why, unlike other lefty bloggers, I'm not paying much attention to the struggles of Tom DeLay. It just doesn't matter -- there'll be another DeLay after DeLay's gone, and another DeLay after that; the GOP has an infinite supply of these people, all of them slinging the same theocracy and government-bashing. DeLay might go, just as Gingrich went, but you'll never notice the difference -- not until the public gets sick of the governing philosophy of the GOP.
Maybe you'll argue that DeLay's merely a theocrat when it suits him, and that he's a menace mostly because he's a slick operator. Well, I'll grant you that -- but I think Kline is pretty slick, too. It sure looks to me as if he staged a bit of cornpone vaudeville for the big-city reporter from L.A., and she fell for it:
Kline also relishes the day-to-day work of an attorney general.
One afternoon in late February, aides kept rushing into his office for his signature on various documents: a settlement with an unethical cemetery operator; a letter to a dating service accused of preying on the disabled; a complaint against a telemarketer for violating the do-not-call list.
Scanning the pages through smudged glasses, Kline gave each his sober attention -- even a letter from a woman complaining that her city council had forbidden her to keep hens in her yard. "Shucks! So she's going to lose her chickens?" Kline asked.
The matter was a bit beyond his purview, he admitted, but all the same, he signed a letter to the woman's state legislator, asking him to intervene to save the poultry.
Gosh, ma'am, I'm just a simple country lawyer. Y'all don't have any reason to be scared of me....
(Story also available here.)