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Supreme Arrogance

Posted by firephillkline on December 4, 2005

In a case with huge implications, it’s nice to see the attorney general is looking to a seasoned supreme court veteran to argue the constitutionality of the Kansas death penalty. Because, in a case of this magnitude, the victims, their families and all Kansans deserve nothing less.

Back to reality: enter Phill Kline’s world. He’s decided to take the wheel for the Dec. 7 Supreme Court capital punishment case oral arguments. Seriously. We are not kidding.

Here’s what the Wichita Eagle has to say about Kline’s legal prowess and experience arguing similar cases:

“Kline has not previously argued before the Kansas Supreme Court or the U.S. Supreme Court. He is known as a skilled political speaker, able to mesmerize a small Rotary Club luncheon or a crowded hall.” Click the link to read the entire article.

Are you kidding me?!?!?!??! Golly- if he’s able to mesmerize a church congregation or Rotary Club, hell, he’s gotta be good enough to mesmerize the Supremes, right? He’s never even completed a jury trial in his life, let alone oral arguments in the Kansas Supreme Court or US Supreme Court!!!!!!! Someone convince me this is nothing more than a political stunt to show the electorate he really does know what the inside of a courtroom looks like (besides showing up a the Kauffman trial and getting verbally bit** slapped by the judge. More on this story in a later post.) Why doesn’t Kline have the same standard for appearing in water rights issues? How about the Limon case? Where was he during the whole school finance fiasco?

The attorney general’s office has at least one attorney (Jared Maag) who at least knows how to get in and out of the Supreme Court. A Kline insider tells us Maag recently completed some kind of Supreme Court fellowship- at the US Supreme Court. Why doesn’t Kline defer to this guy to make the arguments?!?!?!? How can Kline justify how Maag is good enough for the Supremes, but not good enough for him??? Maag’s good enough to tutor you and teach you how it’s done, Kline, but not good enough to give the argument himself? Give us a break.

I’m sure the families of the victims are feeling grrrreat about their chances having a novice like Kline speaking to the Supremes.

Way to put Kansans first, Kline. Then again, what else should we expect?

42 Responses to “Supreme Arrogance”

  1. Anonymous said

    What happend the plea agreement? Why did you take it down? It really nailed Kline….just like this post does.

  2. Anonymous said

    Great, out AG is known as a skilled politician rather than a skilled lawyer.

  3. Anonymous said

    The last post shold have said ‘our’ AG…

    I think FPK’s spelling is rubbing off on me!!!

  4. Anonymous said

    I’ll take a stab at answering poster number one’s question: I don’t know, maybe because FPK had posted a document that was yet under seal and thus got themselves (or someone thinking that they were sending FPK info in confidence) in more than a bit of hot h2o? Or maybe because the agreement revealed the extent to which FPK will read ANYTHING into anything to toss bombs and unsupported allegations of wrongdoing against their idealogical oppponents (civlly destructive acts once dubbed the politics of personal destruction)? Could be a third reason, but since FPK controls the link, I just cannot fathom what it would be. Will stand firm on one and/or two. Either way, know that this is NOT a secure site!

  5. Anonymous said

    Or a fourth reason.

    How about taking a look at the post again. Sounds like they posted something a little too hot for public viewing.

  6. Anonymous said

    whats not secure about it– this isn’t online banking or anything.

  7. Anonymous said

    Great post and great article. I can’t believe Kline lets anyone know he is being tutored.

  8. Anonymous said

    I found it facinating the Kline admin hired people outside for 120,000 and the defense 0. What does that tell you?

    It seems the defense has a background in arguing and probably is very excited to go against an AG who has not experience in law.

    Whether you believe in the death penalty or not, it is all up to the judges who see the law, not these politicians who like to circle around answers anyway.

    Great post. By the way, we all know this is just a blog right, not the newspaper or ebay. People do have their constitutional rights and freedoms to say as they please here or on any other blog. I think we are all doing well on that.

  9. Anonymous said

    I found out about this blog over the weekend at the Cheifs game. I was sitting by a couple from Leawood and we got into a politics discussion before kickoff (thanks to my Bush 04 stocking cap and an attempt at stimulating conversation to keep warm!)

    After talking about the national politics of the day, we moved on to issues closer to home. I came out and said something about the Kansas republican party in disarray and how there is no leadership. It then progressed to Phill Kline and Paul Morrison. We had an interesting conversation and both agreed that if Morrision can swing people like us (which he did when he announced :-), it is his election to lose.

    I appreciate your willingness to stick out your neck to help the average guy understand more about our elected officials. We need much more transparency in all levels of government. This is a good step to make that happen.

    I’ll keep watching the site for more good scoops and will let my partners know about it, as well.

  10. Anonymous said

    FPK- can you get us proof that Kline has never argued a case in front of a jury? Thanks.

  11. Anonymous said

    To the last person asking for proof: how about calling Phill Kline’s office? Ask for a courtroom biography, detailing some of the more high profile cases he’s argued himself in a courtroom.

    Asking FPK to prove this is plain silly- why not go directly to Kline? Why doesn’t someone from the media ask him about this? Ask him to provide verification of his claims. Why is this so hard for people to grasp? Kline is a novice with no jury trial completions.

  12. Anonymous said

    Kline doesn’t want Maag to argue the case because it would make someone in his office look smarter than him.

    If you know Kline at all, you know how he feels he is the supreme commander and no one can touch him intellectually. That’s why he would never have anyone take the spotlight from him in such a high profile case.

    I know from reliable sources that Kline ONLY appears at a courthouse when he knows there will be cameras there. Check it out for yourselves. And when he does appear, he needs tutoring and direction from staff attorney’s to tell him what to do and what to say. He’s even brushed off a victims family to be in front of the camera.

    Wait until the victim advocacy community unloads its nukes on Kline next year… Yes, I said nukes, as in more than one.

  13. Anonymous said

    Last time I checked cameras were not allowed in the supreme court.

  14. Anonymous said

    and, by the way, all of this “reliable source” talk and “kline insider” talk is BS. why don’t you all name names? oh, I understand how that would increase scrutiny on those folks…but how can we take ANYTHING seriously from this site when you could be making it all up? that is why WE don’t call kline’s office and why we ask you about these claims. until you can prove to us that any of this is true, we have to take everything on this site and in the blogosphere in general with a grain of salt. you all could be lying your asses off for all we know. “call kline’s office” “call kline’s office”

    its not kline’s job to deflect unsubstantiated reports, rumors and opinions.

    grow up.

  15. Anonymous said

    if you show yourself and your sources, I’ll show myself and who I am.

    until that happens I will continue with the ironic anonymous posts.

  16. Anonymous said

    Ooooh. Not the ironic posts! Please! No! We have such a terrible time reading between the lines, oh wise one! We would never be able to tell your post apart! What should we do? Get overyourself and at least add to the discussion.

    I, too, would like to know exactly how many (if any) jury trials Kline has done. But this should be saved until closer to the election. It would be much more powerful and damaging to Kline. I suspect we’ll hear much more about this and many other Kline issues soon enough.

    Sounds like someone is a little bitter about this blog. Looks like we have Kline insiders posting here.

    Although, it would be interesting to know who and how many in Kline’s office are leakers and providers of information to this blog. Then again, why would anyone close to Kline want to know identities? Retaliation, perhaps?

    How about trying to smile a little bit? It will be ok. There are a lot of good jobs out there for Kline insiders.

  17. Anonymous said

    Ignore him (or her). I agree- Kline’s office must be at DefCon 4 after this blog was created, Morrison’s announcement, the polling numbers and his puppet shallenburger crying and wanting his mommy.

  18. Anonymous said

    dont let petty posters distract from the real issue of this post- Kline has no courtroom experience. And dont expect the media to attack him on this- until its closer to the election. we really dont want anyone asking Kline about this until then. Shhhh.

  19. Anonymous said

    no courtroom experience was reported in papers in the 2002. I wouldnt call that a rumor, plus the Sherine Jones post from a few weeks back says the same thing. The earlier poster is right- dont bait Kline into this argument yet. save it for election time. Hit him with everything at once.

  20. Anonymous said

    Kline deflected this argument pretty well in the last election. As such, it seems he’s taking a pretty big risk by arguing in front of the Supreme Court.

    As long as he has support with the kind of experience that you are citing, then it sounds like a pretty good risk. He then trumps Morrison by saying — I’ve argued in front of the Supreme Court.

  21. Anonymous said

    DEFCON counts down, not up. I’d say Kline’s office is at DEFCON 2.

  22. Karla Winslow, sister of HV CO Sheriff Deputy killed in the line of duty April 6, 2005. said

    You are an idiot. Let me ask you a question. How would like to hold you brother as he lays dying, just to let the man who took his life keep his. I support Phill Kline to the fullest. You are an immature brat activist with no life experience, and a trouble maker.

  23. Anonymous said

    Karla, I’m sorry about your brother, your post has nothing to do with this thread.

    Dont you want someone with real experience arguing to the supreme court to make sure his killer is put to death? Its about having a

    Thats great that you support Kline. Some people do, but the growing majority do not support him including most who read and contribute this blog.

    to the readers: would you want someone like Kline arguing a case that would covict the killer of a loved one- or Paul Morrison- who has thousands of cases under his belt and a PROVEN conviction record.

    Dont let your emotion get in the way of reality and facts. This topic has to do with Kline’s experience- nothing about your brother or you. Kline’s limited (or none at all) experience is the issue. For me, I would want someone with REAL courtroon experience arguing on behalf of my family.

    Plus, calling someone an idiot totally makes you look immature and your arguement weak. If you want to take issue with something, post it without calling names.

  24. Anonymous said

    Too bad about your brother, but Kline doesnt have courtroom experience. to want him arguing in front of the highest court of the land is silly. give me someone who has at least argued in from the kansas supreme court. this has nothing to do with the death penalty and if kline supports it or if you support him becuase of it.

  25. Anonymous said

    To the lady who lost her brother- I lost my daughter to a murderer, and I would NEVER want someone like Kline to argue on my duaghter’s behalf. Yes, I know a thing or two about the real world and real loss.

    Phill Kline is a politcal opportunist who is proving this once again. The topic is on the money- if Kline were really looking out for the interest of the victims’ rights, he would find the best possible person to make the arguments at the Supreme Court. There are many firms in DC specializing in Supreme Court arguments, which have argued hundreds of cases there.

    But then he wouldn’t be able to say he’s argued in front of the Supreme Court.

    Its all about the campaign to Phill Kline.

  26. Anonymous said

    Easy there, friends. Maybe you should all leave your real names and get in touch and work together instead of calling each other names. Sounds like you both have suffered terrible losses. Blogs are not the best support mechanism or group, but it seems you could both provide each other support. Good luck.

  27. Anonymous said

    Wow! Now this is a hot thread!

  28. Anonymous said

    calm down everyone. take your personal attacks to a ultra conservative site.

  29. Anonymous said

    Dont think for a minute that if Kline wins the argument, it makes a bit of difference. The bottom line is that Kline has chosen to make himself the issue in the Supreme Court. WIn, lose or draw, he made a selfish decision.

    Plus, after spending hundreds off thousands on ‘consultants’, he damn well better win.

    I too agree he is a political opportunist. He should have found someone to make the arguments with experience.

  30. Anonymous said

    Listen, I too am a victim of a crime and I too know Phill Kline’s record and agenda, it’s not for victims or their families. He is only there for the media and himself. Even though the media will not be IN the courtroom, that doesn’t mean he can’t pull a political game for the media to look at.

    I feel bad for any family member that has lost a loved one, or a rape victim, or a victim of domestic violence, ANY victim, survivor, or family member. But, what we need to look at is how many of the cases the AG’s office has prosecuted how many the AG gets involved in, meaning actually sees the family or “shows up for,” as this blog stated earlier? Any particular cases the media happens to be there right when he is there? Does he go to ANY that the media would not be there?

    We as victims need to get together and really take a look at what he is doing for US!!!! How is the victim program he has in his office? How many advocates have come and gone? From what I read hear, the turn over rate is rediculous…there MUST be a reason. Maybe we should find out about that!

    Anyone can be a victim of a crime, it’s getting a good AG to know how to treat us and from what I can see, he’s not doing that!

  31. Anonymous said

    The loss of the karlas family member is tragic; the loss of the supreme case would potentially be as tragic to her and the many others this case would affect.

    Doesn’t the state want to ensure the best possible chance of victory? Why must Kline use this case as another way to politically grandstand? This is a serious, serious case and should have been treated as one by Kline.

    As a moderate repub/conserv. dem, I am saddened by Kline and fully intend to support the other candidate who I can be proud of. If all Morrison has against him is the switched party issue, he’ll crush Kline. Kline has far too much extra baggage, and more is created each day with stunts like this.

  32. Anonymous said

    I really would like to see some solid proof that Phill Kline has never completed a trial. I find that very hard to believe. The burden of proof is on this website to substantiate such bold claims. And, would you respect Phill Kline, the top Attorney in the state, if he chose not to argue the most important case he will encounter in his time as AG. I certainly wouldn’t. I admire Phill Kline for stepping up and doing what he was elected to: representing the state as the lead attorney.

  33. Anonymous said

    I would agree that Phill Kline needs to argue the case. If he didn’t he would look bad, if he does, he still is going to look bad because he’s not going to be arguing the law-he’s too much of a political person to care about the law at hand, that is why he has a team of people telling him what to say. If he were a true prosecutor, he would already know the law and not need so many people to prep him.

    Granted, we want him to have many people on this to help him, but it just seems odd he is the one arguing the case, when he hasn’t had much experience on the prosecuting side and the defense team doesn’t need many people at all-they know the law because of prior experience. He is only a “figure head” of which doesn’t have experience. But, I guess that is okay in this administration. All figure heads do not need to really know their job or have experience, just “act” like they do.

  34. Anonymous said

    Article in Wednesday’s KC Star says the public defender arguing the other side has NO Supreme Court experience either.

  35. Anonymous said

    Actually, she has not argued at the US Supreme Court level, not many have in her position. The article was a post on this site earlier. It states:

    “Woodman has faced similar scenarios hundreds of times before the state Court of Appeals and the Kansas Supreme Court, where she argued this case.”

    Therefore, again, more experience than our AG. He has not argued even for this case prior to this others have for him. I would think something so important to him, as he says, he should have been doing this from the state level. He is the STATES AG not the nations.

  36. Anonymous said

    By the way, the article came from the Wichita Eagle.

  37. JustCara said

    I think some posters (too many anonymouses – anonymice? whatever) have an incorrect view of this type of litigation.

    (1) Most big-firm litigators (from whence Kline came) do not have trial experience. (Motion hearings? Yes. Trials? No – because over 90% of cases settle before trial. Case in point – I’ve been a big-firm litigator for six years and I’ve never first or second-chaired a trial during that time.)

    Civil litigation is a completely different animal from criminal, so in this instance comparing him to Morrison is comparing apples to oranges. Those litigators who do first/second chair trials have been fully prepped to present their themes and arguments (as is Kline, apparently). Like he says, you don’t win at oral argument but you sure as hell can lose.

    (2) Given that this is a big-deal case, it’s only right to EXPECT him to present oral arguments, even though he is obviously less qualified than other people in his shop. Is he a media whore? Of course he is – but with all due respect to the crazy kids from Lawrence that run this blog, I don’t think this is the best example of that.

    (3) The real travesty (in my civil libertarian view) is the fact that Kline et al. get $180K worth of help to argue their side, but the state-funded public defender gets zip, nada, zilch, and is stuck on a wing and a prayer. But that’s a post for a different time.

    Make no mistake – I find Kline icky for lots of reasons. Unfortunately I think there is much more smoke here than fire.

  38. Anonymous said

    Is Phill really arguing the case today?

    According to this source, Mr. Maag is listed as petitioner for the state.

    $180K wasted?

  39. JustCara said


    (the link is actually here.)

  40. Anonymous said

    Maag is probably listed because he has the experience, but I bet you anything Kline is the one arguing for the state, as he should. However, if he backed out of it, that looks bad on Kline just like arguing with no experience looks bad. He’s screwed either way!

    Also, if he didn’t have experience coming into the AG race because of being a civil attorney, then sorry to say, he shouldn’t have been elected. The attorney in charge would have to have experience in trials since that is what they do at the AG’s office.

  41. Anonymous said

    FYI to bloggers the US Supreme Court docket can be found at the below address. It has both Kline and Maag as the attorney’s. Anything can happen.

  42. Anonymous said

    FYI to bloggers the US Supreme Court docket can be found at the below address. It has both Kline and Maag as the attorney’s. Anything can happen.

    And the oral arguement states Kline is arguing:

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