"Real liberty is neither found in despotism or the extremes of democracy, but in moderate governments.
Alexander Hamilton

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Non-feasance in Kentucky

I'm sure many of you have been following the story in Kentucky where Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis has refused to perform the duties of her office and issue marriage licenses to same sex couples. She has refused the state Supreme Court order to issues the licenses and remains in jail in contempt of court. Davis testified in court that she could not obey the order because God’s law trumps the court. 
I read an interesting story on this topic in the Huffington Post which sites a few Biblical verses that highlight the problems of the strict interpretation of the Bible such as Ms. Davis as "lazy" and at best creates very awkward situations. Saying that the Bible says so and that's it, is rarely that simple.  The article quotes Romans 13 which says in part:"Let every person be subject to the governing authorities; for there is no authority except from God, and those authorities that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists authority resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. "
Ms. Davis  is a public servant, elected to do a specific job. She has neglected to fulfill her oath of office and the constitution of the State of Kentucky as well as the US Constitution, all three of which she swore to uphold. 
I cannot fathom the numerous Presidential candidates that are outraged at Ms. Davis being incarcerated for not following the law she swore to uphold , and to do the job she was being paid to perform. Is that how they plan to govern if elected? 
 My view is that if she cannot bring herself due to personal religious convictions, to issue these marriage licenses, or perform any other job duty, she should simply have resigned her post. Yes, she would then be unemployed and yes , she would have lost her income, but if she feels so strongly about this, would that not have been the morally correct thing to do rather than violate her oath of office?

Following is the oath of office Kim Davis took, as well the pertinent section of the Kentucky Constitution.

Oath of clerk and deputies:
Every clerk and deputy, in addition to the oath prescribed by Section 228 of the Constitution, shall, before entering on the duties of his office, take the following oath in presence of the Circuit Court:
“I, _____, do swear that I will well and truly discharge the duties of the office of _____ County Circuit Court clerk, according to the best of my skill and judgment, making the due entries and records of all orders, judgments, decrees, opinions and proceedings of the court, and carefully filing and preserving in my office all books and papers which come to my possession by virtue of my office; and that I will not knowingly or willingly commit any malfeasance of office, and will faithfully execute the duties of my office without favor, affection or partiality, so help me God.”

Kentucky Constitution
Section 228
Members of the General Assembly and all officers, before they enter upon the execution of the duties of their respective offices, and all members of the bar, before they enter upon the practice of their profession, shall take the following oath or affirmation: I do solemnly swear (or affirm, as the case may be) that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of this Commonwealth, and be faithful and true to the Commonwealth of Kentucky so long as I continue a citizen thereof, and that I will faithfully execute, to the best of my ability, the office of .... according to law; and I do further solemnly swear (or affirm) that since the adoption of the present Constitution, I, being a citizen of this State, have not fought a duel with deadly weapons within this State nor out of it, nor have I sent or accepted a challenge to fight a duel with deadly weapons, nor have I acted as second in carrying a challenge, nor aided or assisted any person thus offending, so help me God.
Text as Ratified on: August 3, 1891, and revised September 28, 1891.
History: Not yet amended.


What is good for the goose said...

I am not defending Ms. Davis nor am I elevating her efforts of protestation to anything more than it seems to be. The rights of person of any particular religion must be protected as well as the rights of those people of the LGBTQ community. Would it not be respectful of the situation for those seeking their marriage license to simply apply at another county clerk's office; one who would not have the particular objection to issuing the lic.? In this world of so many people be "offended" at so many things and claiming the right to be protected, this is one where the Gay Community and those trying to follow their religious belief could easily come to some compromise. Kentucky law is the same as NH law in this respect; it allows couples seeking a marriage lic. from any county in KY the right to be married in any location within the state. Kentucky has 120 counties where they could apply so finding another place of issuance would not be too much to ask. After all Ms Davis was not demanding they join her church was she. Protecting the rights of all individuals in a nation full of freedoms will call upon some willingness to cooperate from time to time.
As for Ms Davis obeying the laws that she has sworn to uphold, I find it interesting that the POTUS of her own political party (Dem), has chosen to not enforce many of the existing immigration laws he finds offensive to him as well as encouraging "sanctuary cities" to do the same. Yet no one is carrying him or any of the city's mayors off to jail for their actions. Even while Mr Obama is in a better position than Ms Davis to more easily change those laws he finds offensive he chose to not follow them, enforce them or otherwise respect them.
We are a nation of laws are we not? If I find a law that I feel I don't like is it my right to disobey it. No. I must follow the law. So should Ms Davis and likewise the POTUS.
What I do find disturbing is that her life history has been thrown to the public with some disregard to accuracy. However, the couple choosing to seek the publicity for the LGBTQ community remains faceless and nameless.

Anonymous said...

What is ..... so you advocate people be inconvenienced rather than make an elected official perform her duties? The answer is much more simple to me. If she can not perform her duties for whatever reason, she should resign. Many clerks in the more conservative states are likely to just say go somewhere else to get the license if provided with your opt out. As far as the POTUS concerning immigration laws, I believe the Congress would have charged him with impeachment if there was the slightest basis for doing so. Since you have introduced politics into your post, please tell me which party had to pardon its POTUS for all crimes and again a number of individuals over the Iran-Contra affair.

No Sympathy for Ms. Davis said...

This issue comes down to obeying a lawful order. The Supreme Court has ruled. If we are a country of laws, we have to obey all the laws, not just those we like. Without a system that obeys laws we will have chaos.

Ms. Davis if troubled by the law has an easy out. Resign and she won't have to issue licenses, but if she continues to hold her position she has to fulfill her legal responsibilities. After all, she is paid by the taxpayers to fulfill her obligations not just those she likes or wants.

I too find it depressing that virtually every Republican candidate for president is somehow cowtowing to an obvious lawbreaker and providing publicity onwhat should be a nonissue. Mrs Davis deserves to sit in jail until she either obeys the law or resigns her position.

Joseph Cormier said...

NH Bill of Rights in NH Constitution: right to revolt

[Art.] 10. [Right of Revolution.] Government being instituted for the common benefit, protection, and security, of the whole community, and not for the private interest or emolument of any one man, family, or class of men; therefore, whenever the ends of government are perverted, and public liberty manifestly endangered, and all other means of redress are ineffectual, the people may, and of right ought to reform the old, or establish a new government. The doctrine of nonresistance against arbitrary power, and oppression, is absurd, slavish, and destructive of the good and happiness of mankind."
June 2, 1784

Think MoBo and Carroll county! :)

U.S. Declaration of Independence
" --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new."

"The American Declaration of Independence invoked the natural law right of revolution, natural law was not the sole justification for American independence."

However, U.S. Code (Federal Law):
"Whoever knowingly or willfully advocates, abets, advises, or teaches the duty, necessity, desirability, or propriety of overthrowing or destroying the government of the United States or the government of any State, ... Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both,"


I agree that if a person's religious beliefs are compromised in employment, then, that person should seek other employment, or accept that not all, subscribe to that religion. If it violates "society's laws", than suffer the consequences, and consider yourself a martyr.

Not suggesting conversion to ISIS, however.

" ... POTUS (Pres.Obama) of her own political party (Dem), has chosen to not enforce many of the existing immigration laws ..."

...and he should be impeached, which is the legal prescription, and brought to trial in the Senate, for not abiding by his lawful oath of office!


Why does marriage have legal rights/benefits for two people? Why isn't "each person has legal rights/benefits"? Why is government involved at all, other than to protect "rights", not beliefs.

Biblical beliefs ...

40 days and 40 nights ... really!

How could there be light on the first day of Creation if the sun was not created until the fourth day? What's a day? What's a night?

I can remember the two years I spent in a Roman Catholic seminary (first two years of high school)studying to be a priest, and being instructed that the words in the Bible were not literal. Kind-a-like picking up a newspaper, today, and reading some baseball player "slid into home"! Strange house! Can you imagine being todays "cool" at a BoS meeting about the Wreck Center, while opposing sides are turning red and purple! Sure ... real "cool" man ... thought that was from the 60's!

I don't want to offend any "literalists", however. I respect their views; may not agree, but expect all legitimate societal laws be followed, and to deal with them with their own notions.

Anonymous said...

In 1954, the Supreme Court decided Brown v. Topeka Board of Education. There after, many southerners started a new "civil war" related to desegregation with "massive resistance" claims of "states rights' and unnecessary violence that ultimately required federal troops at Little Rock's high school and various other schools and universities such as "Ole Miss".

The current cadre of candidates who advocate civil disobedience to the Supreme Court's decision in Obergefell v. Hodges are a disgrace. This is not a religious freedom case; this is Ms. Davis seeking publicity for a group of public officials who do not like the Supreme Court's decision. Her incarceration is totally appropriate as she should either obey the law, or if she really can't due to her moral and religious beliefs resign as she can't act as a public official. Ms. Davis should not become the Orille Faubus, Ross Barnett and Strom Thurmond of the 1950's and 1960's That was wrong - Ms Davis is wrong.

Anonymous said...

We have a poster in favor of return to the good old days of separate but equal. Those were the days!

Joseph Cormier said...

RE: Ann @ September 6, 2015 at 9:41 AM

"The current cadre of candidates who advocate civil disobedience to the Supreme Court's decision in Obergefell v. Hodges are a disgrace. This is not a religious freedom case; this is Ms. Davis seeking publicity for a group of public officials who do not like the Supreme Court's decision."

"A new legal cloud over same-sex marriage in Kentucky?"


Obergefell v. Hodges



THE SIXTH CIRCUIT No. 14–556. Argued April 28, 2015—Decided June 26, 2015*

"Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee define marriage as a union
between one man and one woman. The petitioners, 14 same-sex couples ..."


"The Fourteenth Amendment requires a State to license a marriage between two people of the same sex and to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-State."

5-4 decision again!
The only thing, probably, preventing POTUS from "packing the Court", SCOTUS, is the other political party "controls" the House and Senate.

Republic, not Democracy in action! Ya got to love it!

JC said...

Where would the rant be if this woman was a Muslim and that she was following Sharia Law?
A different take?
Oh, but we are a "Christian" nation, right?

Anonymous said...

Bottom line is that she is an elected public official inserting her personal beliefs into her public duty. She should have thought about that before she ran for the office.

Anonymous said...

What I hope occurrs is that the voters will reject the candidates that support this illegal action and recognize that advocating breaking the law is not presidential material.

Double Standard said...

Ha, right presidential material. Than we should all vote for Hillary who thinks she above the law?

Anonymous said...

double, it is one thing to accuse people and quite another for the potential leader of the free world and defender of the constitution to think it is okay to not obey the law and actually campaign on it. Stay focused pleased.

Eric Taussig said...

Troubling to read all the comments about other individuals alleged violations of law, etc. The subject of this post was Ms. Davis and her conduct as a public official who took an oath to obey the law that she violated.

The two alternatives she had were to (1) obey the Court and issue the marriage licenses, or (2) resign, if her conscience would not permit her to do so.

Pretty simple - as no public elected official has a right to disobey a lawful order as a public official.

Even if civil disobedience is arguably warranted in Ms. Davis' mind, she cannot do so as an elected public official if it violates her oath to uphold the Constitution and fulfill her obligations as a county clerk. Ms. Davis may disagree with the Supreme Court and can use her first Amendment Right to state such, but she still has to act as County Clerk in accordance with lawful orders.

Opening a Can of Worms? said...

Mr. Taussig, in regards to your comment about Ms. Davis, would you appy the same criteria to President Obama?

Eric Taussig said...

To, "Opening a Can of Worms", I would be glad t discuss that or any other subject with a named person, but not someone who declines to identify themselves.

In fact, if I were the Blogger, I would have declined to publish such a pseudo-anonymous question.

Anonymous said...

Opening a can ......and what court order are you questioning the President may have disobeyed? Are you going to use the worms to go fishing?

Moultonboro Blogger said...

What we should be concerned about are the candidates (Jindal, Walker, Huckabee , Paul) that believe that Davis is being persecuted for practicing her religion so it is okay for her to neglect her sworn duty. As to previous comments about Obama, Google Bush and his signing statements" after he signed bills into law.

Joseph Cormier said...

Blogger brings up a point.

"Google Bush and his signing statements" after he signed bills into law."

"Controversy over George W. Bush's use of signing statements

George W. Bush's use of signing statements was and is controversial, both for the number of times employed (over 700 opinions, although President Clinton actually issued more, and for the apparent attempt to nullify legal restrictions on his actions through claims made in the statements — ..."


"What is a presidential signing statement?

It’s a written pronouncement occasionally issued by the president when he signs a bill into law.
What is the purpose of a signing statement?

The purpose of the signing statement varies. The three most common purposes (as identified in this report) are:

Rhetorical: To point out positive or negative aspects of the bill and how they fit in with the administration’s views

Political: To define or clarify what the president views as ambiguous aspects of the bill

Constitutional: To announce the president’s view of the constitutionality of certain aspects of the bill."


"Are presidential signing statements constitutional or not?

The Constitution doesn’t say anything about presidential signing statements. It neither permits nor prohibits them. "

My take ...

"... others argue that a signing statement has no legal effect, so it doesn’t really matter, constitutionally speaking, ..."

Kind-a-like a MoBo event ... of passing-wind!

A breach of oath of office, however, is not a signing statement!

Why isn't Jim Webb being discussed by either/both parties (and especially media). Probably the only viable announced candidate on the Dem. side! I'd like to hear his position on this issue.