NOM BLOG

"When the Supreme Court Oversteps Its Bounds, Citizens Are Right to Resist"

 

NOM’s chairman, John Eastman, expounds on the arguments surrounding the Kim Davis debacle, and how, “when the Supreme Court oversteps its bounds, citizens are right to resist”:

Image via CBSNews/REUTERS/WLEX/LEX18.COM

Image via CBSNews/REUTERS/WLEX/LEX18.COM

The double standard on display is palpable. I don’t recall Keegen or any of the other self-righteous, newfound devotees of the rule of law calling for the resignation of Kentucky’s attorney general when he refused to defend his state’s marriage law — or any of the other state attorneys general who did the same, from California’s Jerry Brown to Pennsylvania’s Kathleen Kane, and several others, including perhaps most notoriously Oregon’s Ellen Rosenblum, who was caught actively colluding with plaintiffs to ensure judicial invalidation of the Oregon marriage law she disliked.

“But Davis was refusing to comply with a decision of the Supreme Court,” it will be argued. So, too, did all those illustrious attorneys general. All of them refused to do their duty and defend their state’s man-woman marriage laws, even though the binding precedent of the Supreme Court at that time, a 1972 case called Baker v. Nelson, was that such laws were constitutionally valid.

Ms. Davis’s position has also been mischaracterized as asserting that because the Supreme Court’s decision is contrary to God’s authority, she cannot be compelled to comply with it and therefore can prevent same-sex couples from getting married in her county. Her position — so described — has been belittled by simpletons across the political spectrum as nothing more than the misguided stance of a crazy evangelical clinging to her Bible. But that is not her legal argument at all (however much merit it might have as a reaction to an illegitimate decision by the Supreme Court). Her actual argument is much more restrained.

Kentucky has a Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which expressly prevents the government from imposing a substantial burden on someone’s religious beliefs unless the government’s mandate is narrowly tailored to further a compelling governmental interest. Because this lawsuit is pending in federal court, the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which contains the same protection, is also applicable. Ms. Davis’s lawyers have simply argued that these federal and state laws require that her religious objection to issuing same-sex “marriage” licenses over her own name be accommodated.

. . .

Abraham Lincoln famously said, in his first inaugural address, that although judicial decisions are binding on the specific parties to a case, “the candid citizen must confess that if the policy of the Government upon vital questions affecting the whole people is to be irrevocably fixed by decisions of the Supreme Court, the instant they are made in ordinary litigation between parties in personal actions, the people will have ceased to be their own rulers, having to that extent practically resigned their Government into the hands of that eminent tribunal.”

In short, Ms. Davis was much more faithful to her oath of office, and to the Constitution she vowed to support, than the federal judge who jailed her for contempt, the attorney general of the state who refused to defend Kentucky’s laws, and Justice Anthony Kennedy, who usurped the authority of the states and the more than 50 million voters who had recently reaffirmed the natural definition of marriage, in order to impose his own more “enlightened” views on the nation. One can only hope that Ms. Davis’s simple but determined act of civil disobedience will yet ignite the kind of reaction in the American people that is necessary to oppose such lawlessness, or at the very least bring forth a national leader who will take up the argument against judicial supremacy in truly Lincolnian fashion.

Visit National Review for the full article.