Fire Kathleen Kane Now!

The attorney general’s refusal to do her job suggests that she doesn’t understand what her job is.

Politics can be a very slimy business. We’ve seen politicians go to jail for stealing, lying and cheating: Jesse Jackson Jr., Tom Delay and Richard Nixon, to name a few. We’ve seen sexual indiscretion cost politicians their careers: Mark Sanford, John Edwards, David Petraeus and Anthony Weiner. (Wait, I hear Weiner’s making a comeback! Kind of makes you think we get what we deserve.)

These, and many more, have been elected officials who decided to act outside the system, under the radar, skirting the rule of law within a democratic system that, in theory, works. It’s all slippery-slope kind of stuff that goes on all the time and, when it’s discovered, is dealt with through the democratic process. Whether it’s a criminal proceeding, firing, sanction, impeachment or the will of the people in an election, we have ways of dealing with “bad” politicians.

Then along comes someone who belongs in a different category all together.

This isn’t slippery slope behavior, this “major chasm in American politics” kind of behavior. I’m talking about Kathleen Kane, Pennsylvania state attorney general. Last week she decided that there was a law that she just couldn’t, in good conscience, uphold.

Wait a minute!

Isn’t upholding the law item No. 1 on an attorney general’s job description? She’s not a judge tasked with finding wiggle room in interpreting a law. She’s not a lawyer tasked with finding loopholes to defend or prosecute someone. She’s a cop for God’s sake! It’s her job to uphold the law, all of it, as it has been legally enacted.

Ms. Kane has decided that she cannot defend the state’s ban on gay marriage. While I agree with her stance personally — I believe we should legalize gay marriage —  I believe even more strongly that we should not allow any politician to fundamentally erode the democratic system of laws under which we live. Our system of government was designed with mechanisms to address issues like these; Ms. Kane has the leeway to ask lawyers for the governor’s office or executive branch to step in if that is in the state’s best interest. What she doesn’t get to do is impose her own political beliefs in deciding what laws she will and will not uphold.

Look at is this way. Your neighbor hates your hydrangeas and comes over and rips them all out. You call the cops and the responding officer says, “You know, I hate those things too,” and off he goes. You’d be pretty pissed wouldn’t you? Because it’s not the cop’s job to have an opinion about the law, it’s his job to uphold it.

I believe that Kathleen Kane should be fired or removed or impeached or whatever it is you do to get rid of a state’s attorney general. Not for this one infraction, necessarily, but because her refusal to do her job is evidence that she doesn’t even understand what her job is.

Think about how much damage this type of politician can do, not only to the political system in their own jurisdiction but to the foundation of our political system as a whole. We can deal with the slippery slope stuff — the major chasm behavior must be decisively and quickly eradicated.

Kane’s got to go.

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  • There is a big difference between enforcing a law and defending it in court. Take the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA): It was transparently unconstitutional, since it set up differing legal standards for legally married Gay and Straight couples. That’s why the Obama Administration chose not to DEFEND it in court. This doesn’t mean that the law was not enforced while it was still on the books.

    Similarly, Kathleen Kane will continue to enforce Pennsylvania’s ban on marriage for Gay couples for as long as the law is on the books. But in terms of its constitutionality, why should she be forced to defend in court something that she knows is indefensible, especially given the Supreme Court’s decisions on DOMA and Prop. 8?

    Those of us who support marriage equality for law-abiding, taxpaying Gay couples didn’t really have a choice but to “target” all the piecemeal, state-by-state bans, didn’t we? The Supreme Court could have issued a comprehensive ruling requiring Gay and Straight couples to be treated equally, at ALL levels of government, but instead they chose to punt on the some of the details.

    So what now? Most of the legal benefits of marriage come from the federal government. Take survivor benefits under Social Security, for example. Legally married Gay couples in Iowa are now entitled to those benefits, but suppose one of those couples relocates to West Virginia,which has a statutory ban on same-sex marriage. Does the state have the power to forcibly annul that marriage? And if so, does the couple now LOSE those federal benefits?

    Don’t fault US for continuing this fight. The Supreme Court left us no choice.

    • Wayne Swift

      You miss the issue Beth was raising. Read her article again.

      • ShalinaK

        Why don’t YOU read her article again? You can’t “Fire” an attorney general, what don’t you understand?

  • Rob Fisher

    I think the thing that bothers me the most about this article is quite simple.You can’t fire an Attorney General. It’s an elected position. Fact checking before spouting off would be a good idea.

    “Kathleen Granahan Kane is an American lawyer and politician who is the Attorney General of Pennsylvania. She is the first woman ever elected to the position and the first Democrat to be elected since it became an elective office in 1980.” from Wikipedia

    Had she taken the time to simply go to the website for the Attorney General she would have found this. which is dated 7/13/13

    To paraphrase it she says she will not defend DOMA as it is blatantly unconstitutional. Didn’t the Supreme court just decide that at the federal level?
    This is nothing but an inflammatory article based on thin air and certainly not the facts.

    • Jane Yavis

      WELL SAID!!!!

  • Turk502

    Writing “because her refusal to do her job is evidence that she doesn’t even understand what her job is,” and “I believe that Kathleen Kane should be fired or removed or impeached or whatever it is you do to get rid of a state’s attorney general,” in the same paragraph leads me to the conclusion that it is not Kane, but you who does not understand what her job is. She is not “a cop”, and she’s not deciding whether or not to uphold this law. There is a huge difference between the executive branch enforcing a law while not defending a law, the first federal case of which can be found when Jefferson essentially decided to give the finger to the Sedition Act. Really, you should stick to writing about hydrangeas, because that’s really about all you seem qualified to do.

    • JoeyD

      THANK YOU. I wonder if the person who wrote this article received an education past 8th grade….

  • TJ Wells

    Why would you want someone who is against a law to defend it? It’s better to have Corbetts legal team to defend it. I am pro gay marriage but this nonsense that we should fire Kathleen Kane is rediculous!

    • Jane Yavis

      When is Corbett coming from his secret bunker to do his Job???

  • Ah yes, instead she should waste the taxpayer’s money and time of her office to defend this indefensible law. SCOTUS already ruled. AG Kane is right on this issue. The author does not understand what she is writing about.

  • TheseRJustMyThoughts

    If she does not respect the laws she was elected to uphold, when the time comes, vote her out of office. She should not only defend the laws she likes. Nowhere else can one have a job and only do the part of the job that suits you.

  • JoeyD

    Do you not realize that marriage equality is a human rights issue? Did you not hear of the SCOTUS Ruling in June? Churches are protected, that if they do not want to perform same-sex marriages, THEY DON’T HAVE TO! And to argue that this is a “morals” issue for Christianity, have you not heard of separation of church and state, and freedom of religion? It isn’t freedom of religion, only if you are a Christian! And my finishing statement is this: If there was a law that stated that you had the right to shoot [insert any race, religion, ethnicity here], do you really think ANYONE would defend that? I would hope not! Come on! She defends the laws, however, not anything that discriminates.