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Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis (courtesy foxnews.com)

TTAG reader GS writes:

Please follow the Federal decision jailing the woman in a small-town for not issuing a marriage license to gay couples. If the Federal court can incarcerate a citizen at the small-town level for not adhering to the Constitution, what about all those bureaucrats who infringe on Americans’ gun rights, in direct contradiction to McDonald and Heller? The decision seems harsh, shrewd and oppressive; but I believe a precedent has been set which could easily upset the entire gun control applecart. But won’t.

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215 COMMENTS

    • Bullpuckey on this entire issue. The constitution does not grant the federal government authority to grant permit or license for marriage, it recognizes unalienable right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. Whether the clerk knows it or not, the government has no authority regarding mates, spouses, significant others etc. The entire issue of marriage licenses and any attendant benefits is a violation of the constitution. Period!

      • That might have been true before the Civil War, but hasn’t been the case since the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment. States aren’t allowed to let some people be unequal before the law.

        • Equal protection in the case of marriage simply means that the government may make no arbitrary distinction between married people and unmarried people (some states actually have this explicitly in their own constitutions). Sex is not an arbitrary distinction – but according to the federal government it now is, for some mysterious reason known only to Justice Kennedy, but the rest of the human race for 100,000 years failed to note. But I digress.

          What the federal government has no power to do is to invent a totally new status — one that does not exist at law (same-sex marriage), so as to compel the states to implement that status by judicial decree, and on pain of imprisonment for failure to confer that recognition.

          But it has happened. And it won’t be the last now they have the taste of it.

          Question is, what we are prepared to do about it ? One lady just put down a marker by going to jail rather than comply.

          How about you?
          Whether it be this or the next whim of the almighty Federal Leviathan — which one will you ultimately not cave to?

          How much less able to effectively resist will we be if we wait?

      • You and her would have a leg to stand on if she refused issuing marriage licenses before the same-sex marriage ruling on these grounds. But she didn’t. She was perfectly fine issuing licenses, until one day she wasn’t. Because Jesus (or something).

      • I have little sympathy for her. Regardless of how you feel about the issue, her job is to administer laws, not write them. If that truly violated her conscience, she should have resigned. The whole point of having judges and clerks is that they are hired for their ability to disassociate themselves from the matter at hand and rule on the basis of the law.
        It would like a person joining the military, getting sent to Iraq, and suddenly deciding that they are a war resister, while expecting to stay in the military and receive a government paycheck.
        As for gay marriage, if marriage was only religious, than I wouldn’t care. But it has become far more of a secular expression of love than a religious ceremony anyway. Giving it to an atheist heterosexual couple and denying it to gay people seems hypocritical as hell.
        In addition, for gun rights, having more public officials realize that carrying out the constitution is MANDATORY can only be good, not bad.

        • As for gay marriage, if marriage was only religious, than I wouldn’t care. But it has become far more of a secular expression of love than a religious ceremony anyway.

          I had a similar epiphany at some point. The State recognizes a contractual relationship that it calls “marriage” – but what the State calks “marriage” is an entirely separate entity from what 5he church calls “marriage”.

          I agree that, under the 14th amendment, all persons have constitutional protection of equal protection under law, and therefore all persons have the constitutional right to participate in the contractual relationship that the State calls “marriage.”

          My solution, as stated before, is simply to change the name of that State-recognized contractual relationship to “civil union” – since that’s what it is.

          I’m totally cool with the State recognizing that my wife and I are in a civil union, while our church recognizes that my wife and I are in a God-instituted and church-ordained wedding.

          It is entirely possible to believe that the Bible teaches that homosexuality is sinful, and that homosexuals deserve equal protection under law – and to ensure that the natural and constitutionally protected rights of all people are honored.

      • “The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe in blood for centuries.” ~James Madison
        “The Government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion.” ~John Adams
        “When all men of all religions shall enjoy equal liberty, property, and an equal chance for honors and power we may expect that improvements will be made in the human character and the state of society.” ~John Adams
        “I am for freedom of religion and against all maneuvers to bring about a legal ascendancy of one sect over another.” ~Thomas Jefferson
        “No man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever.”
        “Christianity neither is, nor ever was, a part of the Common Law.”
        ~Thomas Jefferson

        • Yet the Federal Government has no problem slowly usurping the roles religion or churches historically held, whether it is marriage, charity or worship.

    • So a devout anti-gunner in charge of issuing carry licenses and a devout christian in charge of issuing marriage licenses could both be imprisoned for a virtual life sentences without the benefit of a trial for continuing to refuse to issue a license. At some point it seems like a choice between allowing your free will to be enslaved to the whims of the government or be imprisoned without due process.

      • Hardly. It’s not difficult to simply not take a job and swear an oath to follow the law if you have no intentions of following the law or doing your job.

    • Could a Sheriff that is court ordered to enforce an unconstitutional federal gun law be imprisioned indefinitely for continuing to refuse to do so?

  1. Nothing will happen with the bureaucrats as they only stand by the laws that they can pick and choose to see enforced. F them all.

      • That would require a case reaching the Supreme Court and SCOTUS ruling that cities cannot be “sanctuaries”, and then city leaders ignoring the ruling, followed by a suit resulting in a federal court order to those leaders to adhere to the law, and they still ignore the court.

        We can hope . . . but first someone has to bring that initial case.

  2. Oh, it might do more than you think. It hinges on finding sympathetic Federal Circuit Court judges to issue contempt charges to the various politicians in their circuits if they’re in violation of the Supreme Court findings, but it could very easily happen.

  3. Jail? If it comes to that, wouldn’t firing her seem like the next logical step? I guess the Federal judge doesn’t have the authority to do that. Still, seems like a harsh jump. This judge is making a statement.

        • Yeah, some are. It’s called a retention election. They are appointed, but they can be voted out of office by voters if they disagree with their decisions.
          Very rare, but it has happened before.

      • But can she be impeached for not doing her duty? Where is here responsibility to do her job in accordance with the law. If she can sidestep this one issue because of her religion then how many others can she choose to ignore. Seems to me that her religion, according to her, will no longer allow her to stay in the job she was elected to and perform her duties. Because of that, she needs to resign right away. Not doing so would be hypocritical and inconsistent with her beliefs.

        • @Ralph –

          What’s the longest she can be held for contempt of court?

          What’s the longest anyone has ever been held for contempt?

        • There are no limitations. You are held in contempt (with the appropriate penalty) for as long as you remain in contempt. Basically, she can go out the moment she agrees to abide by the judge’s ruling, but not before. If she never does, she remains locked up for the rest of her life. I’m assuming there’s some kind of an appeal procedure in place also, so that a higher-level court could overturn this, but I doubt it is applicable in this case – that she’s in contempt is clear as day, she has an unambiguous ruling from several courts, including the supreme court of the land, and she doesn’t claim to misunderstand what they say, he just refuses to comply. It’s as clear cut as it may be.

        • Yes, absolutely. The problem is that she explicitly refuses to resign. She also refuses to let anyone else in her office issue those licenses.

        • I think she has stated she’s not running for re-election.

          I suppose jail until the end of her term of office (while collecting her full paycheck).

  4. According to the article he can’t impeach her.

    That being said in an era where judges get to make decisions on how they “feel” this decision will likely not mean a ton.

    • Here is what that Christian woman’s husband said In response to the death threats they have received:

      “Davis said he has faith… in the Second Amendment to the Constitution, guaranteeing the right to bear arms.

      “I’m an old redneck hillbilly, that’s all I’ve got to say,” Davis told the Associated Press. “Don’t come knocking on my door.”

      • He’s right about one thing. He is an old redneck hillbilly.
        On the other issue, I have a hard time believing gay couples are making death threats against them. Especially in Kentucky.

        • Trolls are going to troll. Everyone who makes national news for this sort of thing receives death threats, it doesn’t matter what “side”. Sue to take down a Jesus picture in a public school cafeteria? Death threats. Refuse to do your job as a government official? Death threats. It’s all just meaningless noise.

        • If you have even a little fame, and an even slightly controversial viewpoint, you are going to get death threats in today’s world.

  5. If your religion prohibits you from doing your job, then you need to choose one or the other.

    That goes for Sheriffs required to issue CPLs too.

        • A Colorado-style recall election, maybe. Depends on what provisions the state law has for that kind of thing. I would think that there would be a mechanism for removing elected officials who refuse to do the job they were elected for.

        • Of course, that could be complicated by an electorate that agrees with her. Not that the will of the people means anything, once our black-robed Supremes have legislated from the Supreme bench.

        • Enjoin her against performing the duties of her office? Enjoin her deputies from carrying out her order against issuing licenses?

          And why does a federal judge have jurisdiction here, anyway? This is a state isdue.

        • I’m assuming the judge issued an order to the clerk to issue the licenses, altho the story doesn’t make it clear. If someone–anyone, elected official or otherwise–defies a court’s order, contempt of court is certainly an appropriate, if not always applied, sanction. And contempt is enforceable by jail. Again, assuming the court directly ordered the clerk to issue the licenses, the sanction is not all that unusual. What is unusual is someone so directly disobeying a federal court order. At least someone who is not a high-up federal official, like maybe a Secretary of State or some such. I personally don’t think the judge had much choice in this case, his orders would forever become meaningless if someone could so publicly flout them with impunity.

        • If someone–anyone, elected official or otherwise–defies a court’s order, contempt of court is certainly an appropriate, if not always applied, sanction.

          Throwing people in jail, without due process, for an indeterminate period of time, is nowhere to be found in the Constitution. It ranks right up there with Judicial Review in terms of extraconstitutional authority that the Judiciary has granted itself.

          …his orders would forever become meaningless if someone could so publicly flout them with impunity.

          Heaven forbid. One might think that the judge’s authority is derived from the people, or something.

        • Chip, if you want to posit that individuals should indeed be able to flout court orders with impunity, then you might as well argue that we shouldn’t have courts at all. You may have a good argument for that, but I haven’t got there yet.

        • When the courts are out of control, and are acting blatantly outside of not only their constitutionally enumerated authority but in direct violation of citizens’ constitutionally protected rights, you’re damn right I’m in favor of civil disobedience.

        • If I understand their law correctly, the state AG can bring charges against her for criminal malfeasance, and if she’s convicted she will automatically be removed from office. The AG’s office has apparently started the wheels turning on that approach.

        • There was plenty of due process there, Chip. First there was the original same-sex marriage case that went all the way up to SCOTUS. Then there was her specific case, which again was appealed all the way up to SCOTUS. She had her day in court, more than once, and it didn’t work out in her favor. This whole rule of law business demands that she abides by the ruling, either by issuing licenses, or by stepping down from her position. Instead, she chose to be a martyr.

          As far as it not being a federal issue, 14th says otherwise. Sure, the federal government cannot legislate on these issues – but they can and should shoot down any state-level legislation that infringes on people’s rights.

    • @Fedup

      The lady was always following the law, until the government changed the law based on emotional whims of a fanatic minority subculture.

      What will happen when an emotional law is passed because of a fanatic, well financed group, that requires infringing upon the Second Amendment.

      Shall not be infringed means:

      If you try to INFRINGE triggers SHALL be pulled, and something about watering a tree.

    • She’s elected. If her constituents agree with her position (and they do), is she really in the wrong for violating an order that conflicts with the 10th Amendment anyway? What if she was standing up for the 2nd, should she be thrown in jail without trial for however long a judge says?

      Is “her job” dependent on her constituents or some un-elected judge? I don’t get the “if you can’t do your job” talk when her employers (the People) seem to be behind her…

      • >> She’s elected. If her constituents agree with her position (and they do), is she really in the wrong

        This is the point where I use your favorite “this is a republic, not a democracy” back at you.

        Yes, it is wrong. If electorate would always have the final say, this would be tyranny of the majority.

  6. Can’t she resign?
    A person is entitled to their beliefs, but when they interfere with an important part of your job, then you need to get another job.
    Whether or not she believes in gay marriage should not enter into the picture, as far as doing her job goes.

  7. Defying a court order or writ is usually punishable by contempt. Finding a court to issue such a writ is the hard part when it comes to guns.

    • Then I guess she needs to find more expensive lawyers. She is represented (I suspect pro bono), and those lawyers have fought in a trial court (lost), took an appeal (lost), and filed a petition for stay in the USSCt pending review (denied). She was ordered by the trial court to do her job, issue licenses (she has refused to issue licenses to ANYone), based upon the Ct of Appeals decision, a decision based on binding Supreme Court precedent, and she refused to obey, to allow her staff to obey, or to step aside so that someone else could perform the duty imposed upon her office by law. That is the epitome of contempt.

      • Somebody hereabouts may be surprised, but I have to agree. This kind of thing is what “separation of church and state” is supposed to address and prevent–not some kindergartner saying grace over their afternoon snack.

        • I disagree that it is an issue of separation of church and state. It is the State that requires a license, and a state official who is authorized and required to issue a license, and an authorized person acting in his/her capacity as an officer of the state who performs the ceremony. Marriage in the US (as in many other countries, particularly France) is a civil union, and government official who deny the exercise of that right violate Constitutional guarantees. That some people choose to be wed by a religious officiant (who nonetheless is empowered by the State to perform weddings) is a choice, not a requirement, for a lawful marriage.

        • It’s an issue of church and state because the clerk is citing her adherence to her church’s teachings as the reason for her refusal to issue the licenses. She is seeking to run her office in accordance with her religious beliefs rather than in accordance with the prevailing secular law. It’s like a Muslim county health officer refusing to issue a required certification to a restaurant if they serve pork, because to him pork is ceremonially “unclean”.

        • The clerk was elected to office before the Supreme Court unilaterally rewrote the constitution to invent “rights” heretofore not found therein.

          She was elected before 1967?

        • Even if she were, so what? Laws are not immutable, either. You cannot expect things to remain exactly the same as when you take a government office for the rest of your life. She held her office and performed her duties when she believed it was not in conflict with her faith; now that she believes that it is, the only logical choice is to step down.

          OTOH, when she refuses to step down, it goes beyond “I don’t want to do things contrary to my beliefs”, and into the “I want to deny other people the ability to do things contrary to my beliefs” territory. And that on explicitly religious grounds. As a state official. As 1A infringements go, it’s pretty blatant.

  8. Wouldn’t it be fun if some liberal city council or officials in an otherwise gun-rights state (Seattle, Washington maybe?) would face the same scenario when they ignore the state constitution and pre-emption laws?

      • State law enforcement is not required to enforce federal law – that has been the precedent for a very long time now. The feds are still welcome to go and do it themselves if they so desire. Now if they were actively blocked from that, it would be another matter (and then, after you get a court ruling in your favor, and a state official refuses to comply, then they would absolutely be in contempt, and should be treated accordingly).

        • It is illegal in California to conduct official state business in any language other than english. So anyone who refuses to print up election material in only english and not in any other language could face the same fate. There’s a number of things progressive officials all over that this could happen to, but first you need to find a judge to rule against them, in many places the judges seem to align with the prevailing winds.

        • >> It is illegal in California to conduct official state business in any language other than english. So anyone who refuses to print up election material in only english and not in any other language could face the same fate.

          I would wager that election material is not the same as official state business according to the law. Laws on official languages generally exist to ensure that when people are forced to interact with the state – i.e. taxes, court proceedings, various administrative functions etc – they’re guaranteed service in a certain language, and anyone who knows that language can therefore receive service. With elections, there’s no need, because if you don’t understand pamphlets or other campaign material by the candidate, you just don’t vote for them, and the problem is magically solved with no need to mandate anything.

        • State law enforcement is not required to enforce federal law – that has been the precedent for a very long time now.

          Unless the federal “law” in question is a magically discovered “right to marriage”, that contradicts the state constitution and statutes of the elected government official responsible for executing those laws.

        • I’m not a lawyer,int19h, but why would a santcuary city need court orders and such. If the responsible officials refuse to allow their employees to follow or enforce the laws isn’t that a criminal conspiracy?

          If you’re knowingly supplying goods and services to illegals and stopping your police and others under your authority from doing anything about the illegals how is that not cause for the officials to be arrested and tried as common criminals,?

          I retired from a school district where at some elementary schools fully half the students were illegal. They lived in section 8 housing, had ebt cards and were destroying the schools. If the officials were allowed to do their jobs properly these kids would not be in our system.

        • >> I’m not a lawyer,int19h, but why would a santcuary city need court orders and such. If the responsible officials refuse to allow their employees to follow or enforce the laws isn’t that a criminal conspiracy?

          Because the laws in question are federal laws, and the states have no obligations to enforce them. They can – the feds delegate the authority to do so to them in most cases – but they don’t have to if they don’t want to.

          It would have been a criminal conspiracy if they actively interfered with the federal agencies (FBI, CBP etc) trying to enforce those laws on their territory, e.g. by ordering state police to arrest federal agents trying to enforce such laws.

          Yes, this also means that states are not required to enforce federal gun laws. Indeed, it was in that context that this principle was originally established as a judicial precedent – Brady Act required local LEOs to enforce some aspects of the law, and some of them sued and won. Here’s some reading:

          http://volokh.com/2013/05/07/a-constitutional-law-lesson-for-steve-benen/
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Printz_v._United_States

  9. Contempt of court is just plain dangerous. A judge can incarcerate someone w/ little explanation. At the federal level their is a statute that limits incarceration to 18 months at the state level there is no limit. You can be legally incarcerated indefinitely in America without a trial.

    Furthermore, this woman is an elected official and that makes things more complicated. Incarceration as part of contempt of court should be done away with. Kick her out of the court, but a single individual should not be able to incarcerate someone.

    • Are you really suggesting that judges should not be able to throw people in jail for violating the law by, say, murder, rape and mayhem? I don’t think that’s going to work. And by the way, this was a criminal contempt proceeding, in which she was entitled to due process of law, to appear, be represented by counsel, call and cross-examine witnesses, and present evidence to the court. Her rights to refuse to testify against herself were in effect. And she did present evidence in her defense, but that court, as it was authorized to do so, found that evidence insufficient to constitute a defense to a violation of a lawful order of the court. this is hardly a drumhead court-martial, as some here seem to suggest.

      • I am against judges being able to throw someone in jail/prison without the conviction of a jury. The judge had to use contempt of court to put her in jail. Her losing in court did not come w/ the penalty of incarceration for if it had he would have sentenced her sooner and it would not have been for contempt.

        Do tell. How long is she to stay in jail for? A month? A year? The only statue regarding this is the federal one that limits the time to 18 months. If it was a state judge it could be indefinite. And do tell. How is she able to serve her sentence when she has not even gotten one. She has not been sentenced she is held in contempt.

        So you are OK w/ a judge sending an elected official to jail for an unspecified time during her/his term? You don’t see the problem w/ that?

    • What do you propose as an alternative to force people to comply with court decisions that aren’t jail time to begin with?

  10. I don’t think a PUBLIC official has the right to deny service based on religious belief.(like Bull Connor,IRC marriage and voting rights).Don’t like it? Quit! I support private businesses who don’t wish to participate. She is a poor poster child for traditional marriage with 4 marriages too. Same with denying gun rights on a personal whim. It’s worth a shot(pun intended) to pursue this. I can carry a gun in Illinois and someone had to get the ball(ammo) rolling…

  11. The federal court’s involvement makes me queasy, but as far as it upholds the rule of law, it’s okay. I have absolutely no confidence in the fed.gov’s desire or ability to use this kind of power to uphold the law in accordance with the Constitution.

    The rule of law is practically dead at the national level. They’ll enforce the law with draconian effectiveness when it suits them, against whomever they deem to be the enemy of the moment, and ignore it the rest of the time.

    That said, this lady needs to get out of the way, or be removed. She wasn’t elected to make everyone else live by the dictates of her religion. (Sharia rule, anyone?)

    • If you sue them in court and it finds said gun free zone illegal,

      and then they apply all the way to the Supreme Court, and it still rules it illegal,

      and they then refuse to comply, and won’t step down,

      then yes. They would be in contempt. But good luck going through all these motions. The current rulings that we have on the subject did not declare gun free zones unconstitutional, and I doubt that will change anytime soon.

  12. Didn’t she have to sign any kind of documents when she took office, to abide by certain rules that pertained to the duties of he office?

      • As I understand it, marriage licenses are shall issue in KY, and she’s refusing to issue any of them, homo or straight.

        Therefore she’s violating the state law that requires her to issue marriage licenses.

        • Incarceration and/or fines are the only remedy available in this circumstance, after she had been given an explicit order and refused to comply. He did not have the power to remove her from office. What else could he do?.

        • False. The judge could have done nothing. The remedy is as bad as, or worse than, the alleged harm.

          That reduces the judge’s role to “do your job, ma’am, or I’ll say ‘do your job, ma’am’ again.”

          You wouldn’t have this attitude if a judge was ordering the losing defendant in a civil suit to pay damages and the man was refusing to do so. Oh, but this is homophobia, which conforms with your prejudice, so it’s different, and sanctioning a recalcitrant person is worse than letting them get away with it.

          Courts do not say “oh, well, this is just civil disobedience so we’ll let it go.”

      • That may be, but she may be violating rules that she swore, or signed a document to obey. Normally, you don’t have to break laws to find yourself jobless. There must be some kind of job description for her job, such as issuing marriage certificates, and I doubt there’s anything in there that the person holding that position is able to discriminate against same sex couples.
        Maybe she should get a job in a bakery, baking wedding cakes. sarc!

        • Please cite the rules she’s breaking. The constitution and laws that she has sworn to uphold are in conformance with her stated position.

          Also, I agree on “jobless”. I disagree on “incarcerated”.

      • To be fair, she is currently acting in accord with the current laws and constitution of her State, as-written.
        What we were discussing at work, in that she is following all the laws. The Supreme court fabricated gay rights out of their arse.

        • SCOTUS didn’t “manufacture” any rights. As (IIRC) Justice Souter noted once in a lecture, the Constitution, except where it explicitly corrects an injustice, is gender-blind. So since marriage has long been recognized as a right, there was no possible way to deny that right to any persons, regardless of gender.

          The only reason the vote was only 5-4 was that there are some cowards and bigots on the court — it should have been unanimous.
          But then so should Heller….

  13. Personally I don’t really care if your gay or if you marry your gay partner. But more and more it seems that this isn’t about equal rights for gays at all, but rather a concerted effort by the atheist left to persecute Christians. If you don’t believe me ask yourself if you think this woman would be jailed for this if she were a Muslim. They don’t even care about Muslims tossing gays off of tall buildings but a Christian woman doesn’t want her name on your gay marriage license and she’s thrown in jail. This is about Christianity not gays.

    • She is being put in jail primarily BECAUSE too many Christians are funding a GoFundMe campaign to pay for any fines that might be levied on her. Fines will not work in this case because it won’t be her money so jail time is the only other option for the Judge.

      AND yeah not a single bit is it about any persecution of Christians. Christianity has never had a right to Government even when it was even more the majority than it is today. Christianity has a role in shaping societies values which are reflected in the people’s values as expressed in the people’s laws but never has any single religion been given a right to govern on its own. You can only try to win hearts and minds which is what she is trying to do by becoming a martyr. Unfortunately it is not working because the people value the separation of church and state more than a person’s personal religious values.

      What we can or cannot prevent from happening in other countries regarding the activities of Muslims is one thing but I guarantee that if any person of any religion attempted what this Clerk is doing would be facing the same jail time and same condemnation of the nation.

      • Our kingdom is not of this world. Jesus said so Himself. That being said, I agree with the feelings at least if not the specific actions or inactions of the clerk

        • The federal District Court and the Court of Appeals concluded that she was violating the civil rights of all persons desiring marriage certificates in that particular county, a decision based on a binding decision of the US Supreme Court. So you are entitled to your opinion, even if it is wrong according to the highest courts in the land.

        • Court decisions may be binding (and thus essentially equivalent to law), but they are not law. So, the fact remains: the clerk is not acting in violation of any law.

        • Uh, no, Chip, court decisions ARE law. As in “common law” vs. “statutory law”. The rub is that “common law” is not supposed to trump “statutory law”, which is what some of our judges, including SCOTUS, are in effect doing.

        • Federal constitution overrides state constitution and laws where they conflict. In this particular case, the state law is invalidated by the federal constitution (just like previously state laws on miscegenation were invalidated).

          In the absence of the law that prohibits gays to marry, she does not have any grounds to deny a license to a gay couple (note BTW that she’s also denying them to straight couples currently – she’s refusing to issue any marriage licenses, period). As such, she is not performing the duties of her office. I’m fairly sure there’s a law about that.

      • Yea, that Go Fund Me thing is great, isn’t it? Remember that small town pizzeria in Indiana that the reporter targeted because they would not theoretically cater a gay wedding? Someone started a Go Fund Me page for them. They closed down their pizzeria but in a week they had $850,000! Christians have learned how to fight this war. What’s the left going to do when being their target is like winning the lottery?

        Working for government, even being an elected official doesn’t nullify your First Amendment rights.

        You think Muslim attacks on gays only happen in other countries? Ever heard of ‘honor killings’?

        • They closed down their pizzeria but in a week they had $850,000!

          I think we know why they closed down, then.

          Working for government, even being an elected official doesn’t nullify your First Amendment rights.

          It does when you deny a public service based on your own personal beliefs. You are working for the government, the PEOPLE, NOT your religion. There’s legitimate debate on religiously-motiviated denial of services for PRIVATE businesses, but when you are employed by the government, there is no debate. It would be 100% just as wrong if she denied services to divorcees. Or of some other court clerk denied services to Christians. You better believe I will be up there, just as loudly condemning that. But, as it stand, that isn’t happening.

          You think Muslim attacks on gays only happen in other countries? Ever heard of ‘honor killings’?

          And those “honor killings” are investigated and prosecuted as murder in this country. Your point?

        • ‘I think we know why they closed down, then.’ – Yes, death threats have a way of inhibiting business.

          Failure to execute the duties of your office is a legitimate reason for your removal from office, not for your incarceration. Are we going to throw O’Bama in jail for failing to enforce our immigration laws?

          Honor killings are investigated and prosecuted, true enough. So is the refusal of services to gays by Christians. Only one generates feigned outrage. The left is more outraged over a Christian inconveniencing a gay person than it is in a Muslim killing a gay person. I guarantee that had a Muslim did the same he or she would not only go unpunished but none of us would have ever heard a peep about it.

        • ‘I think we know why they closed down, then.’ – Yes, death threats have a way of inhibiting business.

          Insert eyeroll here. If I had a penny for everyone who got a death threat for whatever legal action they took, be it liberal or conservative, I’d be a rich man indeed. How about Jessica Ahlquist? 17 years old and was called “an evil little thing” by an elected representative? Got so many death threats she needed a police escort to and from school? Of course, she didn’t get a cool eight hundred grand for her trouble.

          Failure to execute the duties of your office is a legitimate reason for your removal from office, not for your incarceration. Are we going to throw O’Bama in jail for failing to enforce our immigration laws?

          Except, as an elected official in KY, that’s not how it works. They can’t remove her without approval of the KY congress. That is the law.

          The left is more outraged over a Christian inconveniencing a gay person than it is in a Muslim killing a gay person.

          No disgreement from me there.

          I guarantee that had a Muslim did the same he or she would not only go unpunished but none of us would have ever heard a peep about it.

          I don’t know about that. I think the media outlets would run the story, as they know it would be very controversial, and would especially rile up the anti-Muslim yokels, increasing their net views and ad revenue. Of course, until such an event does happen, we’re both just guessing.

        • Where did you get the idea that the family who ran the pizzeria knew beforehand that there would be a Go Fund Me page created for them by a complete stranger and they would hit the jackpot?

          ‘They can’t remove her without approval of the KY congress. That is the law.’ – So instead of removing her they throw her in jail instead? Aren’t we getting a little tired of the ‘go around congress’ attitude in this country yet?

          ‘Of course, until such an event does happen, we’re both just guessing.’ – How do you know it hasn’t? You seem to have a lot of faith in the liberal media.

        • For all intents and purposes they did remove her without congress. Also who is doing her duties while she is being held for life? They arrest her for not issuing a license and now no one is there to issue a license.

        • Where did you get the idea that the family who ran the pizzeria knew beforehand that there would be a Go Fund Me page created for them by a complete stranger and they would hit the jackpot?

          Oh, I don’t know. Maybe because it was widely reported along with the whole hullabaloo? Either way, who cares? You’re really making a mountain out of it.

          So instead of removing her they throw her in jail instead? Aren’t we getting a little tired of the ‘go around congress’ attitude in this country yet?

          :sigh: Have you even been paying attention? She is being held in contempt of court, punishment which includes jailtime, for refusing to follow a lawful court order. Have you read nothing about this whole incident? It certainly appears so.

          How do you know it hasn’t? You seem to have a lot of faith in the liberal media.

          No, I’m banking on conservative outlets like Fox News and the Blaze on running with such incidents.

          For all intents and purposes they did remove her without congress. Also who is doing her duties while she is being held for life? They arrest her for not issuing a license and now no one is there to issue a license.

          No one can legally issue the licenses without the Court Clerk’s approval, that includes her deputies. So, basically NOBODY is doing her duties. That’s why this is such a big deal. NOTHING was being done because she’s holding everything up. This is all by the law. The only one in violation of the law is herself, with her contempt of court. I believe the AG is moving forward with a way to have her responsibilities delegated, but I’m not sure on the details.

        • GS, I can see the potential for fraud in the future, but the response to the pizzeria closure was unprecedented. Before that family could have known there would be a payoff they by all appearances had lost everything. I can accept your ignorance on the story, but your inclination to assume the worst of these people seems rather bigoted.

          ‘…for refusing to follow a lawful court order.’ – If a court order violates your First Amendment rights it is not lawful. The Constitution is the highest law of the land and trumps all others.

          The only reason this became news is because the agitators went after this particular woman to make an example out of her. Had she been Muslim the agitators would have left her alone and there’d be no story to tell on Fox News. Perhaps this is out of cowardice and not bigotry, but there’s no way these people go after Muslims.

        • >> ‘…for refusing to follow a lawful court order.’ – If a court order violates your First Amendment rights it is not lawful. The Constitution is the highest law of the land and trumps all others.

          Her First Amendment rights were not violated. She is still free to exercise her faith as she sees fit, and speak out her mind on any issue in any way she wants – as a private citizen. But as a government office holder (a position that she holds voluntarily), she has certain additional obligations above and beyond that. If she finds those obligations onerous, she can remove herself from such a position – she’s not forced to be in it, and she’s not entitled to it.

        • “‘…for refusing to follow a lawful court order.’ – If a court order violates your First Amendment rights it is not lawful. The Constitution is the highest law of the land and trumps all others.”

          If the Supreme Court decides to limit your first amendment rights and congress does nothing about it then your first amendment rights are not being violated in the eyes of the law. At that point only the Supreme Court can change its mind and the prevailing law. The Constitution, AS INTERPRETED BY THE SUPREME COURT, is the highest law of the land and trumps all others. Your opinion matters diddly until you are a supreme court justice or you can get enough like-minded people together to force Congress to pass a new law or constitutional amendment. Court decisions are LAW until either congress passes a law on that topic or a higher court decides differently. This is how our common law system works because we learned 300 years ago that congressional bodies cannot make laws detailed enough for all the nuance that reality throws at the law. That is why judges must interpret the law to fit reality and why a judge’s decision is also law. It’s designed to compliment and give meat to the bones of law congress put in place. That has been true since before the US was formed and we were all British because that’s how it’s been done in England since the Magna Carta. If you don’t like that, move to Louisiana, the only state with the French system of civil law or if you really want no common law system move to France where unlike in LA there is no federal common law trumping the state civil law. But the French don’t have juries so the Judges there are even more powerful.

          First, Ms. Davis has restricted and much more limited First Amendment rights as an elected official. She can still speak her mind same as all of us, but she cannot refuse to do her job on religious grounds. Only resign. This is based on OUR first amendment rights not hers.

          Second, Ms. Davis first refused a Supreme Court ruling establishing new prevailing law that for so long as the US government is in the Marriage business then the marriage business should be open to gays too. She was in contempt at that point but our system allows for a little contempt at this juncture. She took her case all the way through the courts until the Supreme Court refused to hear her case, effectively supporting and reinforcing the lower court’s ruling that Ms. Davis must comply. That’s TWICE now that the Supreme Court has told her that she must comply. She still did not comply. This time the court officially sanctioned her and held her in contempt. She was given a hearing to defend the contempt of court ruling. She lost. This is the THIRD time she was told to comply.

          Our courts are incredibly lenient and she has had many many days in court to argue her point. She has lost EVERY SINGLE TIME. Ms. Davis must now find another avenue to try to change the law because she cannot do it from her current job. Nothing is stopping her from continuing to try to change the law, speak her mind, or practice her faith. Just she can’t do it as Clerk.

        • The Supreme Court is not the supreme law of the land. WE THE PEOPLE are the supreme law of the land, as codified in and through the constitution. The Supreme Court derives its authority from the people, and acts only by the consent of the governed.

        • ‘Your opinion matters diddly until you are a supreme court justice..’

          Dred Scott’s opinion didn’t mean diddly either.

    • I’m sorry, what part of “failing to do your job” is construed as “persecution”?
      Muslims aren’t tossing people off buildings here in the US. This isn’t about religion, it’s about an elected government official refusing to do her job.

      • I’m sorry, what part of “failing to do your job” is construed as “persecution”?

        It is the being jailed without having committed (or even having been accused of committing) any crime that is the alleged persecution. I’m fairly sure you know that.

        While the woman should not stay in her elected position if she is unwilling or unable to perform her duties under law (even though she is acting wholly in accord with the US constitution, federal law, the Kentucky state constitution, and Kentucky state law), the remedy is absolutely not to violate her constitutionally protected natural and civil rights by throwing her in jail.

        • She is refusing to comply with a court order. Even civil contempt of court can be punished with incarceration. If she didn’t want to comply with the law as an employee of the government, then she should have stepped down. Instead she refused to exercise her duties of office, refused to comply with a lawful court order, and was thus incarcerated.

        • One: what law was the judge ordering her to enforce?

          Two: incarceration for contempt of court violates multiple constitutionally protected civil rights (e.g. due process, trial by jury, etc.).

        • Chip, again I assume that she is disobeying an order of the court, issued in accord with the currently prevailing law. That is contempt of court That is why she is being jailed. It is not an unheard-of sanction for contempt.

        • The court has ordered her to do something that is legitimately a violation of conscience, in contradiction to her faith.

          Is she a hypocrite? Yep. (We all are, to some degree or another.) Should she remain in an elected position that she is either unwilling or unable to perform? No.

          But the court ordering someone to do something that violates a person’s first amendment-protected freedoms, and then holding that person in contempt and then incarcerating that person, is abhorrent.

        • Chip, again I assume that she is disobeying an order of the court, issued in accord with the currently prevailing law.
          What prevailing law is she breaking?

        • One: what law was the judge ordering her to enforce?

          The one where she cannot deny public services to citizens under lawful circumstances. You know, issuing marriage certificates? Are you just playing the ignorant game on purpose? It’s not going to lead you anywhere productive.

          Two: incarceration for contempt of court violates multiple constitutionally protected civil rights (e.g. due process, trial by jury, etc.).

          You don’t know what Civil Contempt of Court is, do you? I suggest you research it. Jail time is a not uncommon punishment.

        • The court has ordered her to do something that is legitimately a violation of conscience, in contradiction to her faith.

          Her faith dictates “obtain an elected position and then refuse services that would otherwise be legal”?

          But the court ordering someone to do something that violates a person’s first amendment-protected freedoms, and then holding that person in contempt and then incarcerating that person, is abhorrent.

          Except it doesn’t violate her freedoms. She is voluntarily in the job as an ELECTED GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL who is refusing PUBLIC SERVICES to CITIZENS. How is this not getting through to you?

        • Again: we agree that she should not continue to hold her elected position, as she has demonstrated inability and/or unwillingness to fulfill the obligations of that position.

          But her grounds for being unable/unwilling to fulfill those obligations are legitimate religious grounds. Throwing her in jail for it is wrong, no matter how you slice it.

        • Tom–what she is “breaking” is the judge’s order. The order was issued in accordance with prevailing law, which includes Supreme Court decisions (whether we think they are erroneous–as I often do– or not). The Supremes “found” (one might say fabricated) a “right” for homosexual couples to be treated the same as hetero couples vis-à-vis marriage under state laws (yes, I think that to the extent that marriage is a government issue at all, it is a state issue. No, my opinion does not count as “prevailing law”). The District court issued an order for the clerk to issue licenses in accord with that decision. She disobeyed that order. She thereby became subject to contempt sanctions.

        • But her grounds for being unable/unwilling to fulfill those obligations are legitimate religious grounds. Throwing her in jail for it is wrong, no matter how you slice it.

          Bullshit.

          You do NOT go to the trouble to get elected to an office and then refuse to execute that duties of that office, but evade the consequences of that refusal because of a religious carveout. There should be no religious carveout, particularly when you went to so much effort to take on that job. (I could see a religious carveout on something the government obligates you to do, like jury duty, but no way on executing the duties of an office you asked people to give you.)

          Before you bring up the tired point that the law on what a marriage license is has now changed, she is refusing to issue ANY marriage licenses.

          As for the “lack of due process” line you are taking, she was allowed to defend herself against the accusation of contempt of court. She failed, because she is in fact, violating a court order to do the job she went out of her way to get.

        • “The court has ordered her to do something that is legitimately a violation of conscience, in contradiction to her faith.”

          If that is so, then her faith is a vile, pernicious one, since what she is essentially espousing is disobedience to the established authority, bigotry, violation of an oath, etc.

          The same principle that says there can be no religious test for holding public office says that no religious test can be used to decide whether to carry out the duties of an office. Her whole attitude is one of spitting on the Constitution.

          Besides which, the court cannot order her to violate her conscience, but it can order her to do her job. If doing that job violates her conscience, she can resign — that’s what Christians did back in the day when the church remembered the difference between church and Caesar.

        • “But her grounds for being unable/unwilling to fulfill those obligations are legitimate religious grounds. Throwing her in jail for it is wrong, no matter how you slice it.”

          There are no “legitimate religious grounds”, unless you belong to a religion that says “Disobey authority and refuse to do your job”.

          At any rate, her “religious grounds” aren’t Christian ones, since the New Testament is very plain that Christians are to submit to the ruling authorities and obey. I don’t recall Jesus ever saying, “Go defy laws in My Name, violate your oaths in My Name” — but He did say “Render to Caesar what is Caesar’s”, and doing your job properly as part of the government certainly qualifies.

        • But her grounds for being unable/unwilling to fulfill those obligations are legitimate religious grounds. Throwing her in jail for it is wrong, no matter how you slice it.

          We could argue about her “legitimate religious grounds” all day, but that’s not the point. The point is she, as a government official, is refusing to provide her legal services, as a government official, to the public. Not just gays, but all marriage certificates. That is in complete violation of her charge of office and the public trust. She was elected to issue licenses, not dictate her religious beliefs to the public. If she is incapable of performing her required duties, she should have left office. Instead, not only did she herself refuse to issue license, she also instructed her deputies to no issue licenses too, effectively shutting down her office wholesale. Imagine a sheriff who refused to stop or investigate any crime in their county?

          As for the jail time, that is completely within reason and is a common punishment for contempt of court.

          The same would be done to a court clerk who refused to issue licenses to interracial couples, divorcees, non-religious couples, etc.

      • There are hundreds of local officials in many states that use discretion when issuing firearms licenses. Some blatantly refuse to issue any licenses. And “shall not be infringed” is in the plain text of the Constitution. Where is the Federal or State law with specific penalties for refusing to issue a license that applies to this woman? A judge throwing someone in jail for contempt is a perk of the office, just like the President can drone anyone he wants, but lets not pretend this women broke any law.

        • ‘There are hundreds of local officials in many states that use discretion when issuing firearms licenses.’

          And not a one of them refuses to issue firearms licenses because doing so would violate their religious conscience.

        • How do you know what is in a Sheriff’s heart when he decides who is of “good moral character?” Maybe this clerk is using that same arbitrary standard. In many places they don’t even need to give a reason to deny your application. They just say the applicant failed to provide sufficient justification for needing a license. The only reason this clerk is in jail is because the judge made a political decision. The clerk has not broken any Federal or KY State laws.

  14. All this proves is that our courts are corrupt beyond repair. They no longer exist to serve justice. They are a “weapon” that the ruling class uses to achieve their goals against free people.

  15. She would probably argue that the Constitution is her defense. I would say this is a scary prescendent for gun rights. Whether you agree with gay marriage or not, this is an example of government changing established law to match changing public sentiment. This COULD be a scary thing for gun rights should public opinion (eventually) overwhelm us.

  16. OK no… fire her by all means but jail? Come on, she is not a threat to the community. She’s someone with a deeply held belief, one I vehemently disagree with, who refused to do her job on moral grounds. The honorable thing to do would have been to quit her job in protest.

    But putting her in jail? That’s not OK. Not only is it a disproportionate response, but you’ve gone and made a martyr out of her.

    Unless you want to start putting every public servant who refuses to do their job in jail. I might actually get behind that.

    But this lady… just fire her and be done with it.