Friday, September 11, 2015

Next Week in Kim Davis

Halle-fucking-lujah

I have gone through the transcript of the September 3 contempt hearing. The reading provides some insight into what will probably transpire next week. First a review.

At the core of this matter is a federal district court injunction that requires Davis to issue marriage licenses to all qualified couples. That is under appeal. Davis' attorneys from Liberty Counsel asked the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals to stay the injunction while it was under appeal. The Court denied the stay noting that Davis has almost no chance of prevailing in the appeal and that her actions directly contravened the constitutional rights of gay couples. The Supreme Court also denied the stay after review by the entire bench.

Throughout the contempt hearing Davis' attorneys maintained that, without her authority, the marriage licenses issued by deputy clerks would be invalid. The attorney for Rowan County and the attorney representing the Kentucky AG disagree. Judge Bunning remains uncertain. However Judge Bunning asserted that this might only be an issue if the couple were to seek a divorce. One of the attorneys maintained that, under family law, it is a generally accepted principle that, if both parties believed they were married, then they were married.

Bill Sharp from the ACLU said that Davis' authorization cannot be conditioned on an illegal act or at least not in defiance of a valid court order.

After five of the six deputy clerks (all but Davis' son) said that they would obey the court order (some indicating that they would so with objections), Davis was brought back to court from lockup and give an opportunity to purge the contempt. Her attorneys then spoke on her behalf indicating that she would not authorize issuance of the marriage licenses by the deputy clerks. It was for that specific reason that she was returned to the custody of the US Marshals.

Come Monday Davis will continue not to authorize marriage licenses that are issued by the deputy clerks but she will not otherwise interfere with their issuance. In theory Davis would, again, be in contempt of court. I seriously doubt that Judge Bunning has the will to incarcerate her again. It is then up to the legislature to fix this problem. Davis will claim that is all she ever wanted. She claims that her desire is not to authorize licenses that conflict with her religious beliefs. Her actions demonstrate that she did not want those licenses to be issued — period.

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