The Pennsylvania Senate is in a bit of a pickle as it advances its analysis of whether to boot Attorney General Kathleen Kane from office due to the suspension of her law license last year pending her trial on perjury and other criminal charges.
Last week, the attorney general asked the state Supreme Court to reconsider its September ruling shelving her legal credential. Kane argued that sitting Justice Michael Eakin should not have participated in the discussion, as he has since been suspended from the bench due to inappropriate e-mails he exchanged that she had released.
Kane’s petition to the Supreme Court was filed the evening before a hearing called by the Senate panel considering her ouster. The next day, at the hearing intended to give Kane a chance to defend herself, former Governor Ed Rendell testified instead.
Rendell noted the high court’s three new justices and Democratic majority, suggesting that it is conceivable the vastly different court could reinstate Kane’s license. That, Rendell argued, would nullify the Senate’s entire premise for considering her expulsion.
“It’s a very difficult question,” said Rendell. “I would urge you not to take action at all but certainly not to take action until the Supreme Court has ruled on her request.”
Now, the Senate is left to wait and watch what the Supreme Court does — even if Rendell had no hand in helping the chamber reach that conclusion.
“I know people are giving credit to Ed Rendell,” said Drew Crompton, a top Senate GOP aide, “but it was a point that we had already contemplated prior to his testimony.”
In the meantime, Crompton said, the Senate’s consideration of Kane’s removal hasn’t come to a standstill.
The panel that took testimony still has to issue a report of its findings, and the Supreme Court still must hear from the state’s Disciplinary Board in the matter about Kane’s law license.
“As we move forward in the upcoming weeks,” said Crompton, “we’ll know significantly more information on both sides of that equation than we know today.”