Pennsylvania state Sen. John Gordner speaks, during a historic floor debate, in favor of a resolution on whether to remove Attorney General Kathleen Kane from office, Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016, in Harrisburg, Pa. Some senators had challenged Kane’s ability to do her job after the state Supreme Court suspended her law license while she fights criminal charges. Kane had said the Senate’s removal process is unconstitutional. (AP Photo/Marc Levy)
After several hours of debate, the Senate failed to remove Attorney General Kathleen Kane from office today. The vote, held under an obscure statute of the Pennsylvania constitution last used in 1891, was 29-19 in favor of removal. A two-thirds majority was needed.
The vote was mostly along party lines, though two senators broke ranks. Sen. Stewart Greenleaf, a Republican from the Philadelphia suburbs, voted against removal. Sen. Rob Teplitz, a Democrat, voted in favor of it. “The position is not attorney and/or general,” Teplitz said during the debate. “It is attorney general.”
Debate before the vote was often heated and again broke down among party lines. “We have an attorney general who can’t legally do any of the legal provisions of the Commonwealth Attorneys Act,” Sen. John Gordner said. “The removal of an elected official needs more than just speculation and maybes,” Sen. Sean Wiley said. “I believe her election was a landmark, not an immunity card,” Sen. Lisa Baker said. “My conclusion is that she is impaired beyond redemption.”
Sen. Art Haywood, who represents parts of Philadelphia and Montgomery County, spoke passionately against Kane’s removal. “It is the Supreme Court that provided the temporary suspension, so it is the Supreme Court that would make the decision that the temporary suspension is being violated or not,” he said. “It is not for the Supreme Senate to decide, it is for the courts.” Read more »