The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has temporarily suspended the law license of state attorney general Kathleen Kane.
The decision from the state’s high court was unanimous. It was a 5-0 decision.
The order does not necessarily mean the Scranton native is immediately being forced from office however.
Monday’s court order comes just over a month after Kathleen Kane was criminally charged with leaking secret information to a reporter and then lying to a grand jury to cover it up.
Despite the wording of Monday’s order, many lawyers and political experts are wondering what will come next because the Pennsylvania constitution requires the attorney general to be a member of the bar.
The order from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court itself is only three paragraphs long. It is barely a half a page but it could have big implications for the future of Kathleen Kane.
The order explicitly says it should not be construed as removing Kane from her elected office.
“I feel, personally, very sorry for her. She came up very quickly and is apparently going down even faster,” Dr. William Parente, professor at the University of Scranton said.
Dr. William Parente from the University of Scranton reacted to the news shortly after the decision was handed down Monday afternoon.
After Kane was charged with perjury, obstruction and more by prosecutors in Montgomery County, Dr. Parente said the tide of public opinion about Kane has started to shift statewide.
As the state’s top cop, Parente says this situation is very unusual.
“It’s difficult to be going after the other people when you yourself are under this cloud but we’ll see, we’ll see if she can pull out of this,” Dr. Parente said.
Kathleen Kane released a statement Monday afternoon.
The statement said in part: “I am disappointed by the action taken by the Supreme Court today.” The statement continued: “I continue to maintain my innocence and plan to keep fighting to clear my name while serving out the rest of my term in office.”
Dr. Parente says he is not surprised by Kane’s decision to stay and fight given her assertion that she has done nothing wrong from the beginning.
“If she can get a no-guilty verdict in a court then she may indeed stay on and fill out the full term. I think she’ll have trouble getting re-elected though,” Dr. Parente said.
Legal experts say Monday’s decision opens many doors.
First, someone could file a lawsuit to challenge Kane’s authority to hold office now that her license is temporarily suspended.
Second, it could also cause state lawmakers to possibly move forward with possible impeachment efforts.