Before it disappears in the fog of campaign news, here’s a footnote to the story I noted last week about the effort by Carol Beier, a Kansas supreme-court justice, to destroy the professional career of a political enemy, former state attorney general Phill Kline, for attempting to enforce the abortion laws in a state where the abortion industry has long exerted enormous political influence:
The country’s first criminal prosecution of Planned Parenthood was left teetering Friday when it was revealed the state of Kansas destroyed abortion records that prosecutors planned to use as evidence.
Johnson County prosecutors have asked a judge to delay a Monday hearing to determine whether there’s enough evidence to try the abortion provider on 23 felony counts of falsifying termination of pregnancy reports. . . .
Court records say that Kansas health officials shredded the documents as part of “routine document destruction.”
The destruction of the documents took place under the governorship of Kathleen Sebelius. Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in Kansas, was a staunch supporter of Sebelius, a liberal Democrat who is now Obama’s HHS secretary.
The destroyed records were crucial in establishing the authenticity of records from 2003 that Kline obtained when he investigated Planned Parenthood as attorney general. Planned Parenthood also provided copies of the records, but Kline contended that those did not match the ones he had in his possession…
In addition to the 23 felonies, the complaint also charged Planned Parenthood with multiple misdemeanor counts of failing to maintain the pregnancy termination reports, failing to perform viability tests on fetuses, and unlawful late-term abortions.
Prosecutors contended that Planned Parenthood had not kept the documents five years as required by law and falsified copies to cover it up.
Kline’s investigation had been hampered by the state supreme court’s muzzling of a district-court judge who had found probable cause to suspect Planned Parenthood of document tampering, apparently to cover up illegal procedures.
Sam Brownback, the governor of Kansas, is a conservative, but the state’s judiciary — and especially the deeply politicized state supreme court — will be dominated by Sebelius appointees, such as Beier, for the next two decades.