Is it possible to die from an overdose of White House chutzpah?

September 4, 2015
No way!!

He said what?!?!

Because, man, Press Secretary Mouth of Sauron Josh Earnest is putting me at risk.

A little background: in the wake of the Obergefell ruling by the Supreme Court that forces the entire nation to permit same-sex marriages, there’s been some push-back by state governments and local officials who claim with some justification that this violates the religious liberty of local officials who view same-sex marriage as sinful. And, as a nation that often has granted exemptions for strongly held beliefs (conscientious objectors and military service, for example), a debate has grown about whether and how to accommodate these people. A county clerk in Kentucky brought the matter to a head recently:

A Kentucky county clerk who has become a symbol of religious opposition to same-sex marriage was jailed Thursday after defying a federal court order to issue licenses to gay couples.

The clerk, Kim Davis of Rowan County, Ky., was ordered detained for contempt of court and later rejected a proposal to allow her deputies to process same-sex marriage licenses that could have prompted her release.

Instead, on a day when one of Ms. Davis’s lawyers said she would not retreat from or modify her stand despite a Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage, Judge David L. Bunning of United States District Court secured commitments from five of Ms. Davis’s deputies to begin providing the licenses. At least two couples planned to seek marriage licenses Friday.

(Good on the NYT for mentioning later in the article that Davis is a Democrat, though they did bury that fact a bit.)

To be brief (and I’m sure you want me to get to the point), I think Ms. Davis is in the wrong here, even though I sympathize with her concerns about her religion. (1) I think the judge, who himself disagrees with Obergefell, was left with no choice but to jail her for her obduracy. It may be a small case, but the rule of law was at issue here. Granting her an exemption while letting her deputies issue licenses to gay couples would not have been sufficient; she is, after all, en elected official sworn to uphold the law and, like it or not, Obergefell is the law. That is her obligation as a public servant. The correct action would have been for her to resign in protest and in her resignation letter make her objections clear.

So, naturally, this became a national brouhaha –that NYT article was front page, for Pete’s sake– and, where there is national attention to be had, the White House has to weigh in. And they did so with this jaw-dropper:

The White House said today that the Kentucky county clerk taken into custody over her refusal to issue same-sex marriage licenses should obey the law just as President Obama does.

Press secretary Josh Earnest, asked at today’s briefing about the jailing of Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis for contempt, said “ultimately I think that this is something that the courts will weigh in on.”

But, he said, “the question of the rule of law” is at stake.

“And every public official in our democracy is subject to the rule of law. No one is above the law. That applies to the president of the United States and that applies to the County Clerk and Rowan County, Kentucky, as well,” Earnest said. “And that’s a fundamental principal of our democracy. In terms of how that applies to this particular case? That’s obviously something that a judge will have to decide. And I would not second guess it from here.”

I’m amazed that he didn’t choke to death from trying to keep from laughing here. I actually agree with Josh Earnest that the rule of law is at issue here. It’s a shame his boss doesn’t know the meaning of the words. Let’s consider just a few examples:

  • Obamacare waivers
  • Multiple far-reaching regulations (EPA, NLRB, FCC) issued with no statutory authority
  • Racially biased enforcement of our civil rights laws on voting
  • The Libya war, in violation of the War Powers Act
  • Operation Fast & Furious
  • Failure to produce budgets by the statutory deadline — or at all
  • Non-enforcement of our immigration laws
  • Ignoring the treaty clause of the Constitution
  • Ignoring congressional demands for information in violation of Congress’ oversight powers

All of this just screams “respect for the rule of law,” and I’m sure you can come up with others.

How Earnest avoided a lightning bolt from above for this one, I don’t know. I guess even God was gobsmacked.

via PJMedia

Footnote:
(1) For the record, I both support allowing same-sex marriage and I think Obergefell was a terrible decision.

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(Video) In which Ted Cruz owns a “reporter” on Gay rights

May 23, 2015

Senator Cruz isn’t my first choice for the Republican nomination for president in 2016, though I’ll happily vote for him if he is. However, he gets an unqualified high-five from me for putting this shill for Democratic National Committee talking points in his place:

Pardon me a moment… smiley dance smiley cheering smiley thumbs up

Few things tick me off more than the progressive Left’s hypocrisy on women and Gay rights: silently ignoring the hideous abuse both suffer under Islam while creating fake controversies here at home.

Go, Ted!


On judges and “the will of the People”

August 5, 2010

Among the various reactions to Judge’s Vaughn Walker’s decision in Perry v. Schwarzenegger to overturn California’s Proposition 8 and allow same-sex marriage here, I noticed a disturbing theme among commenters at blogs and on Twitter: the idea that the judge had no right to overturn a state constitutional amendment that directly reflected the will of the people.

To which I say, “hogwash.”  Not talking

Don’t get me wrong: I’m a staunch believer in judicial restraint. Judges should interpret the law, not make it. They, as unelected officials, should grant great deference to the elected legislatures, which (the current Congress excepted) represent the people’s will. And this is especially true when the People act directly as a legislature, as in the case of ballot initiatives.

But, conservatives who say the judge had no right to do what he did are missing a very important point: ours is a constitutional republic under the rule of law, not a majoritarian direct democracy. Our constitution was set up, in part, to protect the rights of political minorities from the passions and whims of a majority, to prevent a majoritarian tyranny. Under our system, even the People have to obey the restraints on power put in place by the Constitution. They can change the Constitution if they like, but they are not free to ignore it. If a state were to pass a bill prohibiting Asian immigrants from owning property and forcing them to sell what they did own, a federal court would rightly strike this down* as violating the Bill of Rights even if it were an amendment to the state’s constitution enacted by popular referendum.

To turn back to Judge Walker’s decision in Perry, I make no claims as to whether it was correct. (For interesting criticism, see Ed Whelan and Dale Carpenter) But, if the judge honestly believed Proposition 8 violated homosexuals’ constitutional rights, then he had not only the right to rule as he did, but also a positive duty to do so. To say otherwise is to deny wholesale the principle of judicial review, a cornerstone of our system since 1803.

So, Judge Walker may be wrong on the law and his decision subject to reversal, and he may become a poster child for judicial imperialism, but those are questions separate from whether he has the authority.

Babies. Bathwater. Let’s remember the difference.

*(Sadly, in the real case of California’s Alien Land Law of 1913, the court took way too long to finally overturn it.)