In the muck with Phill Kline

Last year, then-attorney general Phill (the extra ‘l’ is for “lascivious”) Kline was sued over his interpretation of a state law. He claimed that a law requiring doctors and other counselors to report sexual abuse required them to inform his office of any sexual contact with a minor child, even if it were just two kids making out. This led to much amusement over his attempts to clarify what, exactly, constituted sex. On the stand, he allowed that french kissing would probably be OK, but had to think very hard about french kissing “while lying on top of each other.” He wasn’t sure whether penetration was involved in a girl performing oral sex on a boy, but was pretty sure oral sex on a girl would be illegal. A lawyer for doctors and social workers asked him to clarify, “Is it inherently injurious for a 15-year-old girl to engage in oral sex on a 15-year-old boy?” Kline said, “I’m not certain.”

He correctly predicted he’d lose that case, but told the press “We’re going to lose in front of Judge Marten. We’ll win in the 10th Circuit.” The 10th Circuit recently denied his appeal. In the interim, he lost an election, and moved from running the state’s legal system to (mis)managing a county’s legal apparatus.

He lost the last election largely because of his legal battle for access to medical records of women who had abortions, and the combination of the pursuit of those records and the case discussed above earned him the nickname “pantysniffer.” It is therefore not surprising that he pushed a grand jury to investigate saucy costumes and videos at three local businesses. Indictments were issued charging that they variously of displayed adult costumes in places where minors could view them, “unlawfully and knowingly or recklessly” possessed and intended to sell “obscene” DVDs, and possessed and intended to sell “obscene” sex toys. The shops denied wrongdoing, and Kline dropped the charges against one after the costumes were moved. Apparently they weren’t that obscene.


  1. #1 Ex-drone
    October 14, 2007

    I would have thought that Kline would apply a Potter Stewart-like standard for sex in that he would know it when he sees it … and not having it.

  2. #2 Geoff
    October 15, 2007

    Josh, the case wasn’t dismissed because Mr. Kline was incorrect in his legal analysis. It was dismissed because KS changed the law and so the issue became moot.

  3. #3 Josh Rosenau
    October 15, 2007

    Geoff, a fair point. I suspect, though, that the result would have been the same no matter what.

  4. #4 Monado
    October 21, 2007

    Do you have a link to the story about his push to get women’s medical records? That’s such an egregious invasion of privacy that I’m surprised even he has the bad judgement to suggest it.

  5. #5 Josh Rosenau
    October 21, 2007

    The medical records case dragged on for a while, so I have lots of links if you want them. Here’s one from late in the process, when it looked like Kline may have leaked some of those records to Bill O’Reilly.

New comments have been disabled.