Topeka, KS – The Kansas Supreme Court Chief Justice Lawton Nuss announced late yesterday that the Court has fired Sarah Peterson Herr, the Appeals Court Research Attorney that tweet-attacked Phill Kline during his ethics hearing on Thursday. He said her case has been “referred to other offices for possible ethics violations.”
Herr had tweeted from what appeared to be the court room, calling Kline a “douche bag” and indicating she had insider knowledge on how some of the judges would rule. She predicted that Kline would be disbarred for “not less than 7 years.”
Read Herr’s full comments on Twitter.
Operation Rescue was the first to publicly call for her firing on Thursday evening. Operation Rescue staff member Deborah Myers immediately e-mailed the court, reporting Herr’s inappropriate tweets and pointing out their prejudicial nature. After a brief e-mail exchange between Ms. Myers and the Court on Friday, Herr was suspended with pay. On Monday, she was fired.
“We join with Phill Kline’s attorney, Tom Condit, in demanding a full and independent investigation into the apparent political bias that has infected the Court,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue and Pro-Life Nation.
Court bias surfaced in a dramatic way when five out of seven Supreme Court justices recused themselves from hearing oral arguments in Kline’s ethics case wherein he stands accused of mishandling criminal investigations into abortion clinics while he served as State Attorney General and Johnson County District Attorney. Bias against Kline and in favor of abortion clinics has riddled previous Supreme Court abortion rulings, especially those penned by radical feminist Carol Beier. Beier was one of the justices that recused.
Two Appeals Court judges and three District Attorneys replaced the recused Supreme Court justices for Kline’s hearing. Herr’s involvement with the Appeals Court judges added to concerns of court bias.
Many familiar with the case believe that Kline’s prosecution is a politically motivated effort to destroy his career and to ensure abortion clinics are never again investigated in Kansas.
Research attorneys such as Herr can heavily influence a judge’s decisions. Job duties include “ascertaining facts from a record of legal pleadings and trial transcripts, researching applicable law, and providing comprehensive legal analysis from an objective viewpoint.”
“Obviously, Ms. Herr was not objective in the extreme and dismissal from her position was appropriate. This begs the question of how her bias many have influenced other cases and if her attitudes are pervasive throughout the rest of the Court’s employees,” said Newman. “An independent investigation is necessary to ensure an unbiased judiciary.”
Court spokesman Ron Keefover indicated to reporters on Monday that the Court would attempt to seek an independent investigation into bias.
Herr has since locked her Twitter and Facebook accounts. The content of her blog, www.sparklylillife.com, has been removed and the site placed in “Maintenance Mode.”