As outspoken conservative state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe prepares to impeach her over her refusal to defend the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, Democrats are rallying around Attorney General Kathleen Kane.
In July, Kane announced to fanfare that she wouldn’t defend the state’s ban on same sex marriage in light of recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings.
She was celebrated by Democrats and LGBT advocates and berated by social conservatives. Republicans and pundits teased Kane over her campaign’s trail statement that “The Attorney General does not have the right to pick and choose which laws he or she enforces.”
State Rep. Metcalfe (R-Butler), the legislature’s fiercest opponent of political measures advanced by LGBT advocates, wants to take the criticism a step further.
“Impeachment is a rarely used, but extremely important, tool to address misbehavior in office,” Metcalfe wrote. “Attorney General Kane’s violation of her constitutional, statutory, and ethical duties cannot be tolerated if our system of government is to work properly.”
Update: Kane fired back at Metcalfe in a strongly-worded statement Tuesday. The full statement is below.
“The citizens of this great Commonwealth should be revolted that a politician such as Rep. Metcalfe is attempting to thwart an independent Attorney General from doing her job by using such a measure,” she said. “I have never been afraid of or backed down from bullies. In fact, bullies strengthen my resolve to protect those who need it the most – the people of Pennsylvania.”
Democrats – particularly those running for Governor – rallied to Kane’s side.
“Republican leaders in Harrisburg have our state going in reverse on everything from social issues to economic development,” former DEP Sec. Katie McGinty said in a press release. “Actions like this aren’t just insulting to our residents, they are damaging to our reputation and harmful to our efforts to attract and lure business.”
“.@GovChristie drops lawsuit denying same-sex marriage while PAGOP seeks 2 impeach Kathleen Kane 4 standing 4 equality,” former Revenue Sec. Tom Wolf tweeted.
At least one other Republican lawmaker, state Sen. John Eichelberger (R-Blair), has voiced support for impeachment.
Gov. Tom Corbett has declined to say whether he would support such a move.
“I’m not going to go into what my feelings are. … That’s not appropriate,” Corbett told the Altoona Mirror.
“I’ve taken an oath to defend the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. If she chooses not to, then she’ll have to deal with that herself. We will defend them.”
Here is Kane’s full response statement:
“Rep. Metcalfe’s call for impeachment should instead be an opportunity for his own introspection. More than three million voters elected me to office last year because they are fed up with partisan politics, which is what Rep. Metcalfe represents.
“I ran for Attorney General because partisan politics are so rampant and ugly, that the people of Pennsylvania are not properly served by their government!
“Rep. Metcalfe’s goals of media attention and political gamesmanship are accomplished through loud, arrogant and misguided claims. Instead, his priorities should be reforming education, job creation, fixing our transportation system, or making the streets safer for kids and families, and should also include cleaning up the good ol’ boys’ system of public corruption. Instead, he chooses to focus on wasting time and battling me because I had the gall to run for office, win and serve Pennsylvania as an independent watchdog over the government they desperately want to rule.
“It is unfortunate that Rep. Metcalfe has such little respect for the people of Pennsylvania. It is also unfortunate and embarrassing that Rep. Metcalfe has such limited knowledge of the laws or perhaps poor understanding of time-tested, clearly enumerated legal principles. While he purports to know what actions I have taken, he is wrong. When he pretends to know the rules governing ethical conduct for attorneys, he again is terribly wrong. And, while Rep. Metcalfe pretends to understand the legal implications of my actions and others around the state, he could not be more misguided. I do not believe he cares about facts or the law.
“I have been, and always will be, committed to protecting, obeying and defending the Constitution of the United States and of Pennsylvania. I will continue to be the independent watchdog over state government to provide checks and balances on the power of those who seek to fulfill their own agenda. Public corruption and waste will not be tolerated. And I will act as the Commonwealth’s attorney, pursuant to the rules of Professional Responsibility.
“The citizens of this great Commonwealth should be revolted that a politician such as Rep. Metcalfe is attempting to thwart an independent Attorney General from doing her job by using such a measure. I have never been afraid of or backed down from bullies. In fact, bullies strengthen my resolve to protect those who need it the most – the people of Pennsylvania. I will never be deterred by selfish rants of those who want Pennsylvania to belong to the few. We thrive on the principles of government for the people, by the people. I will continue to be the Attorney General you elected me to be.”