WASHINGTON, Sept. 4, 2015 – Kentucky’s Kim Davis, Rowan County Clerk, is the momentary spear point in America’s current constitutional crisis, which pits the sovereign states of America against a totalitarian judiciary.
Ironically, she’s a Democrat, though the New York Times misidentified her – I believe intentionally – as a Republican.
As you may recall, Davis gained national notoriety for her refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. “My conscience will not allow it… God’s moral law convicts me and conflicts with my duties,” said Davis.
The “Bible Belt” South has a long history of such religious contests. The “Scopes Monkey Trial” of 1925 comes to mind. Dayton, Tennessee, substitute school teacher John Thomas Scopes violated Tennessee’s Butler Act, which forbade the teaching of Darwin’s theory of evolution in state-sponsored schools.
“It would be hard to imagine a more moral town than Dayton,” wrote a sneering H.L. Mencken, correspondent for the Baltimore Evening Sun. “If it has any bootleggers, no visitor has heard of them… No fancy woman has been seen in the town since the end of the McKinley administration. There is no gambling. There is no place to dance. The relatively wicked, when they would indulge themselves, go to Robinson’s drug store and debate theology.”
William Jennings Bryan, twice a Democratic candidate for president and prosecutor of Scopes, said, “This case is no longer local: the defendant ceases to play an important part. The case has assumed the proportions of a battle royal between unbelief that attempts to speak through so-called science and the defenders of the Christian faith speaking through the legislators of Tennessee.”
When in late June the U.S. Supreme Court redefined marriage to include same-sex couples, Justice Antonin Scalia was rightly outraged, wrote, “It is not of special importance to me what the law says about marriage. It is of overwhelming importance, however, who it is that rules me. Today’s decree says that my Ruler, and the Ruler of 320 million Americans coast-to-coast, is a majority of the nine lawyers on the Supreme Court. The opinion in these cases is the furthest extension in fact – and the furthest extension one can even imagine – of the Court’s claimed power to create ‘liberties’ that the Constitution and its Amendments neglect to mention. This practice of constitutional revision by an unelected committee of nine, always accompanied (as it is today) by extravagant praise of liberty, robs the People of the most important liberty they asserted in the Declaration of Independence and won in the Revolution of 1776: the freedom to govern themselves.”
U.S. District Judge David Bunning ordered Davis to issue marriage licenses in compliance with the high court’s ruling. Davis told Todd Starnes of Fox News, “I’m very steadfast in what I believe. I don’t leave my conscience and my Christian soul out in my vehicle and come in here and pretend to be something I’m not. It’s easy to talk the talk, but can you walk the walk?”
Judge Bunning declared Davis in contempt of court.
Though Davis’ deputies told Bunning they would gladly issue marriage licenses in her place, Davis said doing so would violate her orders. And since she is an elected official, not appointed, Judge Bunning hasn’t the authority to remove Davis from her official duties.
“The Supreme Court of Kentucky has a constitutional authority where they can remove a circuit [court] clerk, but not a county clerk,” Allison Connelly, a professor of law at the University of Kentucky, told Lexington’s CBS affiliate WKYT. “And so that really is an executive branch function. The governor would have to be in charge of that. There may have to be a special session called to deal with it, or refer to the department of local government.”
Judge Bunning told Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, “The court cannot condone the willful disobedience of its lawful issued order. If you give people the opportunity to choose which orders they follow, that is what potentially causes problems.”
Is it “lawful” or simply an “order”?
As Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia noted, the “law” defining marriage is not found in the Constitution nor was it passed into law by the Kentucky state legislature or the elected officials of Rowan County. It was a product of the overactive imaginations of five arrogant, unelected, totalitarian benchwarmers with delusions of grandeur.
Contrary to the absurdities uttered by Judge Bunning, it is not Kim Davis who undermines the rule of law. It is appointed judges who believe they are a law unto themselves.
What frightens Judge Bunning, not to mention his fellow jurists, is that as more Americans elect state and county officials like Kim Davis, the more likely we are to see elected officials nullify court hubris masquerading as law.
In answer to an 1832 ruling by the high court, President Andrew Jackson supposedly said, “John Marshall has made his decision; now let him enforce it!”
That’s all Kim Davis is saying. And in enforcing “it,” the courts must bare their totalitarian fangs before a candid world.