The media continues to focus on Kim Davis, the Kentucky County Clerk who is in jail for contempt of court, because she refused to follow a court order to do the job she was elected (and continues to be paid) to do.
There are other Kim Davis’ around the country. Some of them are County Clerks. Others are Judges and the once impeached Chief Justice of a State Supreme Court.
You may recall Roy Moore, the chief Justice of Alabama’s Supreme Court, continues on a crusade against the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that same sex marriages are protected as a fundamental right under the U.S. Constitution.
Moore ordered Judges under his authority across the state of Alabama to defy the Supreme Court’s ruling. Like Davis, Moore doesn’t have a legal leg to stand on.
Unlike Davis, Moore should know better. Aside from the fact that a judge should know that if there is a conflict between a state’s laws (including its constitution) and rights set out in the U.S. Constitution, the U.S. Constitution prevails. It’s called the Supremacy Clause. Of course, it’s possible Moore skipped the class lecture on the Supremacy Clause.
But there is another reason Moore should know about the consequences that come with defying a U.S. Supreme Court order.
Back in 2003, Moore was impeached because he refused to remove a monument of the 10 Commandments from the Alabama Judicial Building per an order by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Alabama also has its share of Kim Davis clones. According to USA Today, 15 counties are refusing to issue marriage licenses.
Under the law, every county magistrate’s office must offer weddings at least 10 hours a week over at least three days. There must be someone available to issue marriage licenses at Register of deeds offices whenever those offices are open. However, they don’t have to post a notice listing when weddings are available.
According to Phil Berger, Senate Leader and the bill’s sponsor, no one has ever been turned away – yet. But then, people who were turned away are unlikely to seek help from Berger. That would be like a rape victim asking Josh Duggar for help.
Jonah Herman, a spokesman for the LGBT advocacy group, Equality NC, isn’t saying if his group has heard from anyone who has had problems getting married. However, the group is getting legal advice and might sue to challenge the law.
In Oregon, a Marian County Judge faces an ethics investigation because he refused to perform same sex marriages.
In July, a federal court compelled Hood County Clerk Katie Lang to issue a license to a same sex couple. Forty three thousand tax payer dollars later, the case was settled by allowing Deputy Clerks to issue the licenses.
Last week, a judge in Tennessee refused to issue a divorce decree because he is confused about marriage because of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling.
Jeffrey Atherton’s contempt was obvious in his ruling.
With the U.S. Supreme Court having defined what must be recognized as a marriage, it would appear that Tennessee’ s judiciary must now await the decision of the U. S. Supreme Court as to what is not a marriage, or better stated, when a marriage is no longer a marriage. The majority’ s opinion in Obergefell, regardless of its patronizing and condescending verbiage, is now the law of the land, accurately described by Justice Scalia as a naked judicial claim to legislative— indeed,
Notwithstanding his obvious sarcasm, Atherton concedes the Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell is the law of the land.
County Clerks and Judges are supposed to uphold the law. That includes laws they don’t like. To suggest this violates their “sincerely held religious beliefs” is not only absurd, it’s a boldfaced lie. Nothing about upholding the law suggests that they agree with that law.
These individuals are using the power of the government to violate people’s constitutional rights. It’s as simple as that.