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Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane's law license will remain suspended after the state's highest court on Friday denied her request to have it reinstated while she fights criminal charges of leaking secret grand jury material and lying about it.

The court's unanimous rejection could pave the way to an unprecedented vote in the state Senate on whether to remove her from office.

A Kane spokesman said the first-term Democrat was disappointed, but not surprised.

A Senate vote could happen in the coming weeks after a special committee spent about three months exploring the question of whether Kane could run the 800-employee law enforcement office without a law license. Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman, R-Centre, said senators will discuss the matter when they reconvene in the Capitol next week.

"It's an important issue," Corman said. "It's really unprecedented, so I think it deserves to be addressed."

In seeking to have her license reinstated, Kane argued that Justice Michael Eakin should not have participated in the suspension vote because of his involvement in a salacious email scandal.

In its one-page order, the Democrat-controlled court said Kane did not seek the recusal of Eakin "at the earliest possible time." As a result, the justices said, Kane gave up her ability to object on that basis to the court's unanimous decision in September to suspend her license.

Kane has released hundreds of emails, including some that Eakin sent and received through a private email account in the name of John Smith. Eakin, a Republican, has been suspended with pay by his fellow justices while he awaits trial before an ethics court that could result in his being kicked off the bench.

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