Kim Davis highlights the left’s ‘rule of law’ hypocrisy
In Kentucky, Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, a Democrat, has refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples on account of her religious convictions.
To be clear, when a federal court interprets the Constitution – or any law, for that matter – it carries the force and effect of law.
The only way to alter such an order is an appeal to a higher court, a change to the law or an amendment the Constitution. With respect to the constitutional question of states prohibiting same-sex unions, the Supreme Court, the highest court in the land, has decided the issue. The only option left is to amend the Constitution or for the Supreme Court to change its mind.
Such an amendment isn’t in the foreseeable future and the court just released its opinion. That leaves Davis with the option either of resigning her office, finding a compromise or being held in contempt of court.
One of the hallmarks of our nation is the idea that nobody is above the law. We have a clear process for crafting laws, amending them and enforcing them. That’s not evidence of tyranny; it’s how we protect liberty.
Yes, the federal judiciary is full of unelected officials interpreting the law. As a nation, we’ve decided we like it that way. It isolates them from political pressure and significant bias. It does mean they’ll issue decisions we may not like and we have limited recourse.
Since they’re so excited about jailing Kim Davis, I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before the political left starts calling other Democrats to account for breaching the rule of law.
For example, look at what happened during the Baltimore riots in response to the death of Freddy Gray at the hands of police. Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake “gave those who wished to destroy, space to do that.” Unless I’m mistaken, the rule of law doesn’t change simply because people are justifiably upset.
And there’s President Barack Obama’s refusal to enforce federal immigration law for certain classes of immigrants and even to provide them with work permits. Multiple federal courts have enjoined his immigration plan as likely violating the legislative process and directly ignoring existing law.
While we’re talking about boldly rejecting court orders, Obama administration officials admitted to directly violating an injunction against the president’s immigration actions issued by a federal judge in Texas.
President Obama is “absolutely confident that what [his administration is] doing is the right thing to do.” With liberals going after Davis for her beliefs that contravene the law, how is the president any different? Is confidence—a belief—sufficient to ignore the rule of law for some politicians in certain cases but not others?
What about when the administration unilaterally altered the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, which prohibits large employers from conducting mass layoffs unless they give 60-day advance notification to employees? In 2012, those layoff notices would have gone out days before the presidential election. The Department of Labor said those notices weren’t necessary for anticipated layoffs due to federal budget cuts through sequestration. In fact, the White House Office of Management and Budget even offered to reimburse companies sued by employees for breaking the law.
I doubt the political left would give Kim Davis a reprieve if she arbitrarily decided she was going to delay issuing marriage licenses until she figured out a better to solution to accommodate her political interests. Attacks would only intensify if people found out that the Commonwealth of Kentucky was paying her legal expenses.
The rule of law sometimes produces results we don’t like. From time to time, it may even mean the wrong solutions to the challenges we face. Nevertheless, it’s vastly superior to elevating some class of individuals above the law, able to unilaterally force their preferred policies on the rest of us. It doesn’t matter whether it’s criminal laws, marriage, immigration or duly enacted deadlines and notice requirements.
It’s rare to reach political consensus these days, but agreeing on something as basic as the rule of law seems like a great place to start.
Joe Gerth | History tells us Kim Davis will lose; some Republicans seem to forget that, and primacy of rule of law http://t.co/FDXCq9MhJp
— Al Cross (@ruralj) September 6, 2015
“Davis and her supporters would like to see the ‘rule of law’ replaced with ‘the rule of your imaginary friends.'” http://t.co/7v8kcRIiY2
— Lavis Tarchuk (@larchuk) September 2, 2015