Liberty Counsel Fully Embraces Nullification in Alabama

The Supreme Court is less than four weeks away from issuing a ruling in the same-sex marriage cases and the U.S. District Court recently ruled that if they uphold marriage equality, all probate judges in Alabama must comply with that ruling. Liberty Counsel, Jerry Falwell’s legal group, is asking the Alabama Supreme Court to reaffirm its refusal to comply with any federal court order they disagree with.

Today Liberty Counsel filed a motion asking the Alabama Supreme Court for an order clarifying and affirming the continued effectiveness and binding nature of the Court’s orders upholding and enforcing Alabama’s marriage laws.

On May 21, federal Judge Callie Granade ruled that all probate judges in Alabama’s 67 counties are obligated to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. This ruling by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama purported to overrule the Supreme Court of Alabama’s March 3 mandamus decision that affirmed natural marriage and ordered all Alabama probate judges to immediately stop issuing illegal marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

“Judge Granade has no more power to overrule the Alabama Supreme Court than she does to rewrite same-sex ‘marriage’ into the U.S. Constitution,” said Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel. Staver continued, “The Alabama Supreme Court’s prior mandamus Order, and perhaps its disposition of this motion, should send a message that any ruling by Judge Granade or even the United States Supreme Court inventing a right to same-sex ‘marriage’ under the U.S. Constitution is illegitimate,” Staver added.

This is called nullification. It was the concept that Martin Luther King was referring to in his famous I Have a Dream speech. It holds that the federal courts have no jurisdiction over the states at all. This flies directly in the face of the 14th Amendment and takes a position that even Clarence Thomas, the most reactionary Supreme Court justice, does not take. It’s the same argument that George Wallace made when he tried to prevent the Supreme Court’s desegregation rulings from being enforced. He found out quickly that he was wrong.

It can’t be emphasized too strongly just how reactionary this position is. It would cancel out all desegregation rulings, reestablish state laws banning interracial marriage. Its roots are entirely found in racist ideology. What Liberty Counsel is demanding is that the clock be turned back a century and a half. For all practical purposes, Mat Staver and Liberty Counsel just donned their white hoods.

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  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    While it’s nice that they stand for Liberty, it’s unfortunate that they don’t know what Liberty means.

  • blf

    Cafeteria federalism. We’ll only take the parts of the rule of (national) law we like.

  • Chiroptera

    Did the lawyers of Liberty Counsel get their law degrees from Liberty University? ‘Cause I would think that properly trained lawyers would understand the Supremacy Clause in article 6 of the US Constitution.

  • Mr Ed

    If you find yourself in Alabama and desire to enter into a marriage with a partner of the same sex just walk up to any probate judge and say “Judge Moore has no more power to overrule the US Supreme Court than he does to rewrite same-sex ‘marriage’ out of U.S. Constitution.” If the Alabama Supreme Court can nullify the federal government the the people can nullify the Alabama Supreme Court.

  • http://www.facebook.com/eo.raptor.3 eoraptor

    R. E. S. P. E. C. T. Find out what it means to… The SUPREME Court of the United States. If Staver’s motion ever got that far, I would pay good money to sit in on the oral arguments in SCOTUS. Ginsberg would verbally flay the flesh from his bones. I even suspect that ole Tony, while moaning and groaning about the necessity, would slap staver upside his head.

  • John Pieret

    This is just a little judicial foot stamping that will end quickly when the Federal Marshals show up. From what little I know of the Alabama Supreme Court justices, only Roy Moore and, perhaps, one other very conservative justice, will have any stomach for a confrontation with the Federal government (and we already know the governor doesn’t). If SCOTUS finds a constitutional right to SSM, the previous order to the probate judges not to allow SSM will be quickly vacated.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    John Pieret, sure, but then Alabamians will de-elect those weak judges, and elect good, Constitutional Conservatives who will rein in the Federal Government by pretending it and the Constitution don’t exist.

  • Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    “Judge Granade has no more power to overrule the Alabama Supreme Court than she does to rewrite same-sex ‘marriage’ into the U.S. Constitution,” said Mat Staver,

    Yes, Mat! Now you’ve got it!

  • LightningRose

    Personally, I’d love to see a few Louisiana probate judges forced to issue same sex marriage licenses at the point of a National Guard bayonet.

  • Michael Heath

    Ed writes:

    This is called nullification. It was the concept that Martin Luther King was referring to in his famous I Have a Dream speech. It holds that the federal courts have no jurisdiction over the states at all. This flies directly in the face of the 14th Amendment and takes a position that even Clarence Thomas, the most reactionary Supreme Court justice, does not take.

    Clarence Thomas only theoretically agrees in the supremacy clause when it’s politically inconvenient for him to do so (with a mere handful of exceptions). From a practical perspective I’m supremely confident Justice Thomas will not apply the limitations of state power numerated in the 14th Amendment that protect LGBT’s rights equal to heterosexuals. So from an effective perspective, he’s a dependable ally on the side of state- and local-level theocratic aims – conservative white Christian aims that is.

  • eric

    @6: you may be right, but I admit I am fairly interested in watching to see who flinches first. I may know how this movie ends, but I anticipate good popcorn moments along the way.

  • whheydt

    Re: John Pieret @ #6…

    Even Moore has admitted that the Alabama Supreme Court is bound by SCOTUS rulings, however much he’ll likely object to this one. He’s just insisting that his court isn’t bound by any lower Federal Court.

    Does make me wonder what would have happened if Alabama had gotten shot down at the Circuit Court level and then SCOTUS had refused to hear an appeal. Would Moore have concluded that–at least for him–SCOTUS had ruled and he’d lost? Or would he have insisted that the appeals circuit had no power over the state supreme court? *That* might have turned out to be a “send in the National Guard” moment. I don’t think the likely outcome later this month will actually rise to that level, at least not statewide. Some county probate judges may try to resist, but unless they manage to do so very, very quietly, they’re going to find themselves facing a Federal judge who is Not Amused.

  • John Pieret

    whheydt:

    My answer to this somehow disappeared (probably at my end).

    Even Moore has admitted that the Alabama Supreme Court is bound by SCOTUS rulings

    Yes, I know, but statements he’s made since then have called that position into question.

    what would have happened if Alabama had gotten shot down at the Circuit Court level and then SCOTUS had refused to hear an appeal. Would Moore have concluded that–at least for him–SCOTUS had ruled and he’d lost?

    My guess is no. He has denied that even a Circuit court can overrule the state courts and there are plenty of cases that hold that a denial of cert has no precedential import. As it’s worked out, the Feds, including the District Court judge, aren’t going to force the issue until SCOTUS rules.

    Some county probate judges may try to resist, but unless they manage to do so very, very quietly, they’re going to find themselves facing a Federal judge who is Not Amused.

    That will be the popcorn moment …

  • StevoR

    For all practical purposes, Mat Staver and Liberty Counsel just donned their white hoods.

    So do we say ‘again’ to this or “what took them so long?” Is that really that surprising? Just now? Or kinda seen them wearing ’em long ago?

    (Serious question -I don’t know the answer.)