Not Above The Law: Metcalfe Introduces Impeachment Resolution for PA Attorney General Kathleen Kane
HARRISBURG — Today, State Representative Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler) introduced a House Resolution calling for the impeachment of Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane.
“All public officials in Pennsylvania swear an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution and laws of this Commonwealth,” said Metcalfe. “Attorney General Kane’s repeated violation of her constitutional, statutory and ethical duties cannot be tolerated if our system of government is to work properly.”
According to the Articles of Impeachment contained in House Resolution 572, on July 11, 2013, Attorney General Kane held a press conference at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia to announce that she would not defend the constitutionality of Pennsylvania’s Defense of Marriage Act against a federal lawsuit. Her decision and declaration was based solely on her own personal opinion that this lawfully enacted Pennsylvania statute is “wholly unconstitutional.”
Contrary to the personal opinion of Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa, who falsely stated that Kathleen Kane is allowed to exercise her “independent judgment” as Attorney General “in a manner which is best and most appropriate for the individual in that office,” the Commonwealth Attorneys Act imposes a mandatory duty on the Attorney General to defend the constitutionality of all lawfully enacted statutes, regardless of personal opinion.
No court has ruled that Pennsylvania’s legal definition of marriage between one man and one woman is unconstitutional. The most recent U.S. Supreme Court case, United States v. Windsor, declared the federal law to be unconstitutional because it intruded upon the states’ “historic and essential authority to define the marital relationship.”
“This type of misbehavior in office cannot be allowed,” said Metcalfe. “If an Attorney General can pick and choose which laws are constitutional and which laws she will defend or enforce, then the will of ‘We the People’ through our elected lawmakers is thwarted by tyranny.”
The Articles of Impeachment contained in House Resolution 572 also declare that Attorney General Kane’s refusal to defend the constitutionality of the Pennsylvania Defense of Marriage Act led to further violations of the law when the Montgomery County Register of Wills cited Kane’s decision as a reason to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. When the Commonwealth Court entered an order that stopped this practice, the court reiterated the well-established principle that every act of the legislature is presumptively constitutional until a court declares otherwise.
“Attorney General Kane has created a constitutional crisis by refusing to perform her assigned role as the Commonwealth’s chief law enforcement officer,” said Metcalfe. “Although impeachment is a rarely used legislative instrument, it is our duty as members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives to stop her from engaging in further misbehavior in office by acting as a balance of power.”
Metcalfe’s impeachment resolution concludes with the following excerpt, “Wherefore, Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane is guilty of an impeachable offense warranting removal from office and disqualification to hold any office of trust or profit under this Commonwealth.”
“Attorney General Kane is not above the rule of the law and the very troubling pattern of abuse she has set during her short tenure as the Commonwealth’s chief law enforcement officer makes impeachment the most appropriate tool to rectify her repeated abuse of power,” said Metcalfe. “It is my hope that members of the legislature will join me in telling Kathleen Kane, ‘You’re Fired!’”
Representative Daryl Metcalfe
Pennsylvania House of Representatives