Kim Davis: Is This the Beginning of a Judicial Dictatorship?

Kim Davis: Is This the Beginning of a Judicial Dictatorship? September 10, 2015
Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Denise Cross Photography
Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Denise Cross Photography

This is another take on the question of judicial overstep by the judge who imprisoned Kim Davis. I wrote it for Catholic Vote.

Here’s a bit of what I said:

Kim Davis, Democrat, went to jail rather than violate her Christian values. For this, she is getting hammered by those who think they own the Democratic Party and can decide who gets to be a “real” Democrat.

Donald Trump, Republican, supports sending her to jail. Meanwhile, Republican Governor Bobby Jindal has issued an order in his state protecting court clerks’ right to religious objection.

It’s all kind of a mess, isn’t it?

This jibes nicely with a comment by Robert George, who is Chairman of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom. Professor George said, There really ARE two kinds of people in the world: those who will go to jail rather than do what’s wrong and those who will send them there.  

In addition to being willing to send people to jail, Mr. Trump appears to also be willing to demolish the separation of powers that keeps us free.

That’s a huge problem with this whole scenario that most people are overlooking. Mrs. Davis is not an administrative appointee. She is not an at-will employee. She is a duly elected official who holds her office by the direct will of the people. Let me clarify what that means: Her authority comes from the people. Courts do not have the power to imprison elected officials based on how they perform their elected duties.


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32 responses to “Kim Davis: Is This the Beginning of a Judicial Dictatorship?”

  1. Davis wants to be considered an advocate of religious freedom, but she actually represents religious intolerance and oppression. Not only did she refrain from signing off on marriage licenses, she insisted that the other people in her office conform to her religious objection. She denied them the right of religious freedom and the right to do the work they were originally hired to do.

    • Now you ARE getting into the job thing. Davis was elected. People who worked in her office were hired. Your argument has merit, btw. But the irony of it, based on some of the combox stuff on these posts is pretty thick.

  2. Thanks, Rebecca. Not many people are making this much sense.
    I’m concerned about the people who would gladly let fascist tactics take over.

    • I have a Republican friend who calls him a buffoon. But then I’ve got other Republican friends who say they will vote for him … and they are supposedly pro life. Go figure.

      • Scott Adams, Dilbert Cartoonist and firm believer in Neuro-linguistic programming, considers Donald Trump to be a wizard of words- whose outrageous insults are carefully designed to take down the competition in ways that no politician can live down. Labeling Jeb Bush as a weak-on-immigration coward, labeling Ben Carson as a nice guy, and the latest, speaking to men, pointing out that Carly Fiorina has “angry wife face”.

      • He is such an extreme narcissist that he’s a caricature of a narcissist. It’s actually scaring me for the future of America that so many are supporting him.

        • That’s not what I said at all. I said that judges can not — and must not –be in the business of putting elected officials in jail for how they perform their duties. That is quicksand that will sink the republic.

    • It’s early in the process, but I am pretty comfortable saying that Trump will not win the nomination. There are simply too many Republicans who are tepid to hostile about Trump, and he would garner virtually no support from Democrats. Personally, if Trump becomes the face of the Republican Party, then I want nothing to do with the Republican Party.

      I would vastly prefer someone along the lines of Dr. Ben Carson, who is the opposite of Trump in almost every way, and I think most Republicans who support one of the non-Trump candidates would rally around any of the other candidates rather than Trump.

      • We’re in agreement, though I want an experienced governor to win. My preference was Jeb or Rick Perry, but now Perry dropped out. I’ll support any of the other candidates if they win the nomination. I will not vote for Trump under any circumstances. And I’m not so sure Trump can’t win.

  3. Actually, it seems that you are the one who has been “overlooking” the legalities involved. The courts may not be able to jail people for being petty or bigotted, but according to Kentucky Statutes they can jail a public official for not doing the job for which he or she was elected.

    “A public servant is guilty of official misconduct in the first degree when, with intent to obtain or confer a benefit or to injure another person or to deprive another person of a benefit, knowingly commits an act relating to his office which constitutes an unauthorized exercise of his official functions or refrains from performing a duty imposed upon him by law or clearly inherent in the nature of his office or violates any statute or lawfully adopted rule or regulation relating to his office.” (KRS 522.020 and KRS 522.030)

    Articles like this one seem to be more destructive than beneficial because they add to a rhetoric of mythology that is fuelling the conflict across the country. Yes there is “separation of powers” in the U.S. govt: but what is described in this post is pure fancy and imagination. Wanting the government to work the way you want it to does not make it so. And just because you don’t like the Supreme Court’s decision does not mean you can ignore it or disobey it: either morally or biblically.

    • Incorrect. The courts do not “jail” anyone. There is a thing called due process. (I keep throwing these tripping up things like separation of powers and due process at you, don’t I? 🙂 ) If this statute actually exists in this way with nothing in the surrounding law changing or eliminating it, and if it applies to Mrs Davis office, then the appropriate officials may (based on the rest of the statute) have the option of attempting to enforce the statute through a court of law. If all those things are true, she might have her day in court. Only then would the PEOPLE decide whether or not Mrs Davis could be sent to jail.

      • And yet, strangely, Ms. Davis was spent almost a week behind bars. I believe it was for “contempt of court”, for which (apparently) an officer of the court can “jail” people.

        You keep using these words. I don’t think they mean what you think they mean.

  4. The same thing is happening on the other side of the fence, quietly. Pro-homosexual corporations are withdrawing funding from Republicans who are anti-same-sex marriage, and putting in Log Cabin Candidates in their place.

  5. Even though I’m a christian and a Democrat, and I do not see Gay marriage as conforming with God’s understanding of what constitutes a marriage, I see this as nothing more than Civil Disobedience to a law of the land (like it or not). Kim Davis placed herself in jail by not following the law, and her christian convictions remain unaffected by her decision to violate her office duty. By having her name on a ‘Marriage License’ she was acknowledging the State recognized the union… and it (in reality) did not effect her convictions of conscience. For her to take the stand she did will certainly affect how christians will be seen: biased, judgmental and less likely to understand sensitivity vs. conviction of the love we hold from God Himself- one to forgive even us!

  6. I would like to think going to jail for refusing to pay taxes for forced abortions would cause more christians to be in arms (all of us currently conscripts for Planned Parenthood… our money goes to aid their support) and hand-in-hand [peacefully] to rally against this miscarriage of justice- taxation without representation. In light of this issue alone, what Kim Davis did was truly trivial by comparison- looking in her purse while standing at the edge of the Grand Canyon.

    • Only 3% of Planned Parenthood’s care for women is for abortions. It is not paid for by the government or your taxes. The majority of care by that organization is for women’s health, pap smears, family planning, mammograms etc.

      • The Washington Post stated, “The 3 percent figure that Planned Parenthood uses is misleading, comparing abortion services to every other service that it provides. The organization treats each service — pregnancy test, STD test, abortion, birth control — equally. Yet there are obvious difference between a surgical (or even medical) abortion, and offering a urine (or even blood) pregnancy test. These services are not all comparable in how much they cost or how extensive the service or procedure is.”

        and “Or Major League Baseball teams could say that they sell about 20 million hot dogs and play 2,430 games in a season, so baseball is only .012 percent of what they do.”

        The article goes on to estimate that somewhere between a third to a half of Planned Parenthood’s income is derived via abortion.

        Also, I’d add that a serial killer could argue that he’s not so bad since he only is killing people 3% of the time. The other time is spent doing useful work for society.

  7. Hi R:

    I think I get your complaint and in trying to weigh its merits could you please walk me through the situation as you think it should have played out, given appropriate respect for the Separation of Powers? Not challenging you, truly trying to learn. So, let me start….

    1. State law is enacted that says Citizen X shall be denied a certain State license.

    2. Supreme law of the land is interpreted by the supreme judicial body of the land, invalidating that State law as it pertains to denying licenses to Citizen X.

    3. Citizen X then applies for the State license but the State employee Z who was elected to tender the license refuses to do so.

    4. State employee Z then submits herself to the jurisdiction of the supreme judicial body of the land and begs them to allow her to disobey #2 above.

    5. Supreme judicial body of the land denies Z’s request and demands that she obey #2 above.

    6. Regardless of submitting herself to the court’ jurisdiction, since she doesn’t like what they determined, said State employee Z continues her obstinate refusal to obey their direct legal court order as it pertains to her

    Now, Rebecca, I know what you DON’T want. You dont want the judge to have (as he now has) the power to fine or imprison State employee Z as a means to induce her, coerce, her, force her (whatever word you like) to obey the court’s directive.

    But please walk me through the steps of what you think should happen.

    Step1 – the court says, “our hands are tied and out of respect for the separation of powers we have done all we can do. The other branches must figure it out.”

    Step 2 – the people of the State hold a special election to determine if they will — or will not — follow the supreme law of the land as interpreted by the supreme judicial body (that is, force out Z and elect a replacement who obeys law)??

    Is that what you want? Popular elections to determine if we will obey the courts?? That’s the tyranny of the majority.

    Or do you want the executive branch of the state of Kentucky to step in and fine or arrest State Employee Z for disobeying a court order? Would that not offend your sense of respect for Separation of Powers?


    • I’m way too tired and overwhelmed by things in my personal life to go through all this again. My overall point seems obvious to me.

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