Tuesday, September 08, 2015


An effort is being made to end the martyrdom of Kim Davis:
A federal judge on Tuesday ordered the release of the Kentucky clerk who was jailed for contempt last week after she repeatedly defied his order to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Kim Davis, the Rowan County clerk, “shall be released from the custody of the U.S. Marshal forthwith,” U.S. District Judge David Bunning of the Eastern District of Kentucky stated in an order.

Judge Bunning warned Ms. Davis not to “interfere in any way, directly or indirectly, with the efforts of her deputy clerks to issue marriage licenses to all legally eligible couples.
It's not clear whether it will work, however:
... her lawyer says she'll continue blocking licenses when she returns to work.

That sets up another legal confrontation....
Davis is a Democrat -- presumably she's a descendant of Dixiecrats who retained the party affiliation for some reason or other -- but her case has been embraced almost exclusively by Republicans, including presidential candidates Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee, both of whom have been announced plans to meet with Davis in recent days. The judge who jailed Davis and has now freed her is a George W. Bush appointee to the federal bench and the son of Jim Bunning, a former Republican U.S. senator from Kentucky.

I don't know what Bunning was thinking when he jailed her -- did he do so on principle? did he hope she'd resign and make the whole case go away? -- but jailing her just made her more of a martyr and a household name, so freeing her is the best hope Establishment Republicans have of putting the story to rest before the public begins to see the GOP as the party of Kim Davis in the way that it seems to be becoming the party of unabashed immigrant hate as a result of the Donald Trump campaign.

Is there evidence that the GOP Establishment wants the story quashed? Well, I see Washington Post op-ed writer and former George W. Bush speechwriter telling us that Davis is no Rosa Parks. I see members of a Fox News panel mocking Davis and her lawyer:
A panel of legal experts on Fox News came to the conclusion on Monday that Kim Davis’ attorney, Mat Staver, was “ridiculously stupid” for asserting that the Supreme Court did not have constitutional authority to strike down same-sex marriage bans.

On Monday’s edition of Happening Now, trial attorney Chip Merlin pointed out that anyone who violates a judge’s order should “expect to be thrown in jail.”

“She can still practice her faith,” Fox News host Gregg Jarrett noted. “Just not on the job in a way that interferes with the legal rights of the citizens she serves. And in fact, the U.S. Supreme Court said so nine years ago.”

“She’s a hypocrite,” criminal defense attorney Sharon Liko agreed. “She’s applying for the job of a martyr. She wants to practice her faith by not issuing marriage licenses. Yet, she will not agree to let the deputy county clerks issue marriage licenses even if it’s okay with their faith.”
I see GOP-friendly pollster Rasmussen reporting that "Voters Show Little Sympathy for Jailed Clerk in Gay Marriage Spat." Please note how the question was asked -- it seems as if it was phrased to elicit an anti-Davis response:
... just 26% of Likely U.S. Voters think an elected official should be able to a ignore a federal court ruling that he or she disagrees with for religious reasons. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 66% think the official should carry out the law as the federal court has interpreted it.
The exact wording of the question doesn't mention Davis's name, same-sex marriage, gay marriage, or the specific Supreme Court ruling -- all of which might have elicited sympathy from conservative poll respondents. The exact wording of the question was
Should an elected local official be able to ignore a federal court ruling that he or she disagrees with for religious reasons, or should that official carry out the law as the federal court has interpreted it?
Yes, I think there's an effort to tamp this down. But Davis and her backers may not cooperate -- in which case, pass the popcorn.


  1. Recalling the bullshit (pigshit?) I rejected so long ago, there is no "sin" in saying "god-damn(ed)", it isn't "taking the lord's name in vain". The sin, taking the lord's name in vain, is in swearing an oath, taking a vow, in dog's name and failing to fulfill that oath, that vow. Look it up: Numbers 30:2, Duet 23:21,22.

    Pig bitch is going to Hell.

  2. I'm hoping this is not due to the picketing and death threats Judge Bunning got from Operation Rescue, or whatever Popular Front euphamism they are calling themselves these days. As for the Fox panel trying to shame her, not the way to regain control of the reaver army. They should have an operative press Trump about it on camera.

  3. If she tries to stop her clerks from doing their duty, send her back to f'in jail!

    Now that she's a holy-roller uber-"Christian," will she now stop granting divorces?
    More proof that she's a "Christian" hypocrite!

  4. I warned of this last week on my own blog. The way to deal with Kim DAVIS is to make an "accommodation" by appointing a stand-in reporting to a higher jurisdiction to do the marriages. (She can continue to register births, deaths, and property transfers.)

    A bill for the marriage clerk's salary should be sent to the county of which Davis is clerk. If the taxpayers don't mind, fine. Let them pay for the stand-in forever (or until Davis resigns.) If they do balk, come the next election Davis is history as the county voters elect someone who is willing to obey the law.

    That failing, I'm taking a job in a hog slaughterhouse, and then declaring myself exempt from working there, on the grounds that touching swine violates my religious beliefs. While I'm sitting around waiting for my pay checks from Hog Heaven to arrive in the mail, I'll take a job at a makeup company and another in a jewelry store — but refuse to work while demanding my check. (Jeremiah, 4:30, Peter 3: 3-04 and others.)

    Hey, come to think of it, the solution low pay jobs is having multiple no-show jobs. And Kim Davis has just shown us the way. And Mike Huckabee, I hear, is encouraging her? Go Mike! I need those five extra salaries I can make for not doing various jobs. Reminds me of when the Department of Agriculture paid farmers not to grow crops.

    Yours very crankily,
    The New YOrk Crank

  5. People are wrong to imagine Syrian dict- uh, I mean KY guv Bashear has the authority to deal with this problem. He doesn't. The authority to create ways around Davis blocking licenses for whackoid reasons derives from the state constitution. That makes it clear that the KY state legislature is responsible for passing (or not) 'enabling' legislation. The KY state legislature COULD pass a bill empowering the state governor to deal with this, but it has not. The legislature COULD pass a bill passing the authority on to the county, but there's nothing to indicate the county even wants such authority or that they'd Do The Right Thing with it. Moreover, going either route would be to set a precedent OPPOSITE to the established course of conduct of this particular legislature which, more than most Southern or border states so frequently has a split between which party controls the legislature and which controls the state administration. Unless and until the legislature passes such a bill doing one of those things AND the governor or county acts on it appropriately, both lack the necessary authority. Moreover, there's nothing we know of that puts into serious questions Bashear's judgment that recalling the state legislature early just to deal with this would not result in any such a bill (besides cutting into the state's budget, which is required to balance and is constantly on the edge of not doing that).

    Was Judge Bunning precipitous in jailing Davis last Thursday? The IMPRESSION left was that he either canvassed or had some sound basis for believing fines would not overcome her contempt. I haven't seen anything that suggests he had something concrete to point to OR OTOH that the legal basis for jailing wasn't there. So, in law, the judge's ruling to jail here not open to successful appeal.

    Was Judge Bunning clearly intimidated into releasing her today? There's nothing to support that. It could be that Bunning is going to with idea that his jailing her had at least the potential to bring home to her the gravity of her contempt citation. Unless and until Davis actively interferes with a license grant due clearly to her unconstitutional religiotic objection, he won't have to deal again with her contempt citation arising from defying his order.

    It could be this all too prosaic for the respective advocacy on both sides and media wanting to play it up to accept, but actually the whole course of conduct of Judge Bunning in this matter, and Governor Bashear also, appears measured and justified and reasonably sound. Whether is WORKS is really up to Davis.

    Finally, I have trouble accepting the notion that Liberty Counsel is leading Davis on. AFAIK, there's no basis to conclude she's less a crackpot than they are a total crock.

  6. If you say to a judge "you can't judge me, only God can judge me!" you will spend at least one day in jail on charges of contempt in order to cure you of the error of your ways. Period. End of discussion. There is only one god in a courtroom, and He is referred to as "Your Honor". It doesn't matter what judge you say this to, whether he's Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal. Judges tend to be touchy about someone refusing to obey their orders and claiming they don't have to because only God can judge them. It's called "rule of law", and judges are kinda big on that, as you'd expect given their job.

    Note that Davis likely would have been in jail only one day if it hadn't been a Thursday. Judges don't work on Saturdays and Sundays and federal holidays, so she had to wait for him to come back to work on Tuesday to let her out.

    As far as picketing the judge's house goes, that just makes judges annoyed in the same way as a fly buzzing around the dining room. They have lifetime tenure so don't care about public opinion, and they can call upon Federal marshals to protect them if necessary so don't care about protests.

    As far as Liberty Counsel goes, I'm convinced that they are violating state bar rules of ethics by encouraging Ms. Davis in her illegal activities. Attorneys are not allowed by state bar rules to encourage illegal activities. They are only allowed to inform their client of the consequences of illegal activities. They have also violated state bar rules by holding press conferences encouraging illegal activities that seem calculated to keep Ms. Davis in jail, when it is an attorney's duty to get their client *out* of jail, and could possibly be disbarred for that if state bar associations actually cared about their codes of ethics rather than just having them on the books for decoration. That said, I've seen no sign that Ms. Davis needed their encouragement in order to do what she did. Their unethical behavior may have made her feel a bit less tumultuous about defying the court, but she clearly was intent upon doing so regardless.