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Friday, June 29, 2007

Morrison says Kline is either grossly incompetent or manufacturing evidence

And that's just the start of the back and forth between Kansas Attorney General Paul Morrison and his predecessor as AG, Johnson County District Attorney Phill Kline. All of this, of course, surrounds the charging of Dr. George Tiller, a Wichita abortion provider.

The incompetent-or-unethical quote is from today's Topeka Capital-Journal, which also reports on the tight security that greeted reporters when they went to Morrison's news conference yesterday. The security was in response to all the emails Morrison's office received. Judging from some of the emails I've received from anti-abortion folks, I think Morrison has every right to be concerned.

Meanwhile, Kline is trying to claim that Morrison's charges are a victory for him. While it's true that Morrison did use the records Kline obtained, it's also true that Morrison threw out all 30 of the charges Kline was trying to file against Tiller. If you believe Morrison, then all 30 of those charges was botched. That's hardly a victory for Kline.

Morrison says Kline was so driven by his political agenda that he did sloppy work. Whether or not Kline botched the cases, it does make sense that he was driven to press the charges he did. At least half of those charges had to do with how to define a medical rationale for a late-term abortion. If Kline had succeeded, that might well have had the effect of choking off just about any late-term abortions.

Morrison's point is that Kline was trying to make a political point and not trying to enforce the law. If so, then Kline was way out of line.

The Kansas Constitution kindly created an institution to allow citizens to change the law. It's called the Legislature. Kline's job as AG was to enforce the law. That's what his job is now in Johnson County. His record on the Tiller case is just one reason why Johnson County residents are a tad nervous about their new DA.

Tiller is expected to make his first court appearance Aug. 7.

The Lawrence Journal-World has a good story about the 19 charges Morrison filed against Tiller. It includes detail on each count.

Here's the Wichita Eagle's story. The Eagle's best contribution to the story are a timeline of events surrounding Tiller and a brief biography of Tiller.

Kansas Public Radio has an audio report with lots of quotes from Morrison's news conference. I can't seem to link directly to the Morrison story, so you will have to scroll down until you find it on a page of other news reports.

The Kansas City Star reports on the record of the physician who signed off on the abortions performed by Tiller. The doctor, who once practiced in Lawrence, was disciplined by a state board.

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