Pennsylvania's Attorney General Can't Practice Law
Kathleen Kane's license is suspended amid criminal investigation
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 22, 2015 7:19 AM CDT
Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane is shown here.   (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

(Newser) – Pennsylvania's No. 1 legal official is in the unique position of being unable to practice law. The state's Supreme Court suspended the law license of Attorney General Kathleen Kane yesterday as she faces a criminal investigation involving charges of perjury and obstruction, reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The state's constitution requires that its attorney general be a lawyer, notes the AP, but the court's ruling specified that it was not declaring that Kane should be removed from office. “What she cannot do is in any way act as an attorney,” says a spokesman for the 49-year-old first-term Democrat. In other words, she's an attorney general without the "attorney" part. A Duquesne law professor is skeptical: “The truth is you cannot effectively function as attorney general unless you can appear in court,” he tells the Post-Gazette.

The big accusation against Kane is that she leaked information to the media about the grand jury proceedings of a case involving two former state prosecutors with whom she'd been feuding. Then she allegedly lied about the leak. Kane says the charges are a joke, orchestrated by people who want to keep a lid on a different scandal, a cache of pornographic emails received by state officials that she discovered while investigating the handling of the Jerry Sandusky case at Penn State. It's a mess, and a Philadelphia Inquirer columnist writes that Kane's camp is threatening to release yet more scandalous emails involving high-ranking state officials—"a strategy of mutually assured destruction." Meanwhile, fellow Democrats are joining Republicans in calling on Kane to resign.