I am the King’s good servant – but God’s first.
Saint Thomas More’s last words before being beheaded
Yesterday at the Washington Post Jonathan H. Adler quoted a speech from Justice Scalia from 2002 to make the case that Kim Davis, the elected Democrat County Clerk in Kentucky should resign:
[W]hile my views on the morality of the death penalty have nothing to do with how I vote as a judge, they have a lot to do with whether I can or should be a judge at all. To put the point in the blunt terms employed by Justice Harold Blackmun towards the end of his career on the bench, when he announced that he would henceforth vote (as Justices William Brennan and Thurgood Marshall had previously done) to overturn all death sentences, when I sit on a Court that reviews and affirms capital convictions, I am part of “the machinery of death.” My vote, when joined with at least four others, is, in most cases, the last step that permits an execution to proceed. I could not take part in that process if I believed what was being done to be immoral. . . .
[I]n my view the choice for the judge who believes the death penalty to be immoral is resignation, rather than simply ignoring duly enacted, constitutional laws and sabotaging death penalty cases. He has, after all, taken an oath to apply the laws and has been given no power to supplant them with rules of his own. Of course if he feels strongly enough he can go beyond mere resignation and lead a political campaign to abolish the death penalty” and if that fails, lead a revolution. But rewrite the laws he cannot do.
Looking at this quote it occurs to me, rather than an argument for Kim Davis to resign it’s actually an argument for her not only to stand her ground but to seek re-election for continuing to do so.
In the example cited three Different supreme Court justices Harold Blackmun, William Brennan and Thurgood Marshall all despite the having taken an oath to apply the laws and having no power to change them made a conscious decision based on their personal morality that they would, regardless of evidence, undermine legal proceedings all made according to laws passed by the people and upheld by the courts because they “believed what was done to be immoral”.
However despite this, the media made no attempt to pillory them, the legal community did not censure them, the democrat congress did not demand their impeachment and today all of them are well remembered and honored. Nor did anyone object to said principles being based on a religious moral code.
And our friends on the left have routinely cheered civil disobedience in defiance to law, nobody on the left or in the mainstream media was calling for the resignation of Gavin Newsom when he was issuing marriage licences contrary to law.
Furthermore if you go back in history it’s not those who enforced the fugitive slave laws, those who upheld the Dred Scott Decision or those who acted under Plessy v Ferguson that are remembered or lionized in history, it’s those who opposed them and took risk to their reputation, their livelihood and their lives to oppose it.
And of course as an elected official she can’t just be fired, it means a long legal process in a state where judges are elected.
Based on all the evidence the surprise isn’t that she is ignoring the calls for her to cave, the surprise is that anyone expects her to do so.