Kim Davis to be released from jail, will probably wind up back there soon

In light of the fact that the Rowan County Clerk’s office is now issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples without a hitch, Judge David Bunning ordered Kim Davis to be released from jail today. Davis is being released on the condition that she not interfere with her deputies when they issue marriage licenses.

In other words, Kim Davis is probably going back to jail soon.

According to the order specifying Davis’s release:

Kim Davis, screenshot via YouTube

Kim Davis, screenshot via YouTube

The Court is therefore satisfied that the Rowan County Clerk’s Office is fulfilling its obligation to issue marriage licenses to all legally eligible couples, consistent with the U.S. Supreme Court’s holding in Obergefell and this Court’s August 12, 2015 Order…

…Defendant Davis shall be released from the custody of the U.S. Marshal forthwith. Defendant Davis shall not interfere in any way, directly or indirectly, with the efforts of her deputy clerks to issue marriage licenses to all legally eligible couples. If Defendant Davis should interfere in any way with their issuance, that will be considered a violation of this Order and appropriate sanctions will be considered.

Given what we know about Davis, she has no intention of sitting at her desk without interfering with her deputies. She had that option before she went to jail, and she didn’t take it, arguing that even if her deputies were the ones issuing the licenses, her name was still on the form. So by the transitive property of Christian privilege, she would still be judged in the eyes of God as having approved of that marriage being legally sanctioned.

Davis’s lawyers have already said that, following her release, Davis will violate Judge Bunning’s order and refuse marriage licenses, again, in violation of today’s order.

As Scott Eric Kaufmann wrote in Salon, the decision by Bunning to release Davis from jail likely has something to do with the fact that Davis has thus far been unable to parlay her Crusade into a viral fundraising campaign:

Bunning wrote that “[i]f Defendant Davis should interfere in any way with their issuance, that will be considered a violation of this order and appropriate sanctions will be considered.” This could be a reference to the fact that Bunning only opted to jail her because he believed she would use money made through crowdfunding to pay any fine he levied against her — a criterion that became irrelevant after the most popular sites refused to allow her supporters to do so.

But if Davis were to violate this new order from Bunning and face further contempt charges, that argument would still hold. There are more than enough conservatives willing to write personal checks to Davis to bypass the need to pay fines via a social media campaign. So it isn’t a safe bet to say that if and when Davis decides that God’s authority commands her to engage in official misconduct, GoFundMe’s terms of use are going to keep her out of jail.

This means that we’re almost certainly set for another round of Kim Davis blocking same-sex marriages, with cameras and reporters and rallies and court cases and, eventually, Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee visiting Davis in jail for political points.

Kim Davis fought the law, and the law won. But her war isn’t over. She’s more than willing to give her convoluted religious freedom schtick another go, even if we already know how the story ends.


Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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43 Responses to “Kim Davis to be released from jail, will probably wind up back there soon”

  1. Don Chandler says:

    You might be disappointed. When you find someone with the will stop the inevitable and someone willing advance the inevitable, you get an immovable object vs and irresistible force:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9eKc5kgPVrA

    for those that don’t want to watch, marriage of gays continues regardless of Kimbo and her challenger.

  2. dcinsider says:

    The interesting battle will happen when her Deputy Clerk, who has stated he will issue the licenses regardless of what Ms. Davis wants, tells her to jump off a cliff. My guess is that she tries to fire him for not obeying he order (ironic), and she ends up in prison again. Pass the popcorn.

  3. woodroad34 says:

    “My words can never express the appreciation but I promise to each and every one that I will be the very best working clerk that I can be and will be a good steward of their tax dollars and follow the statutes of this office to the letter.”[

    6 months later she’s breaks that promise. She based her campaign on the 26 nepotisitc years she spent in the County Clerk’s office under her mother. I can’t find by what margin she won. So, she’s either a DINO or Southern Democrat (are they any different?) who beat out a Republican and she’s not up for re-election until 2019.

  4. SkippyFlipjack says:

    Remember when religious freedom just meant the freedom to practice religion, like not using an elevator on the Sabbath or getting a break to kneel towards Mecca? Then it became the freedom to not pay for health insurance because someone else might use it for cheaper birth control, and now it’s not even your actions or their extension that are protected, but the public perception of your intentions. Kim Davis is asserting, and some people are buying, that religious freedom means not having her name appear on a marriage license she didn’t sign, lest people see it and think she condones the act in question. Her freedom apparently extends to things she isn’t even doing or thinking. Wow.

    Up next: Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew shuts down printing of currency, saying that he doesn’t want one-dollar bills bearing his signature to be tucked into strippers’ g-strings because people might think he endorses such activity.

  5. SkippyFlipjack says:

    The sneaky plan which has failed entirely. I think you’re right that they thought she’d be an inspiration, but she seems to have inspired almost no one.

  6. CgntvDssdnt says:

    Kim Davis, Constitutional Oath-Breaker

  7. DoverBill says:

    Jesus Christ in a Balboa bout, Batman!

    Wasn’t her staged release today just the greatest thing since the Chariot race in Ben Hur?

    https://youtu.be/ydyFhIjdRlU

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DhlPAj38rHc

    Now what, dumb fuck: allow your underlings to issue licences for queers and piss off your ardent ChristOFuck backers or not comply and find your ample sorry ass back in the clinker, and this time with a not-so-lenient judge?

    Seriously, it must suck to be you right now, but whose choice was that?

    Zeus, I can’t wait for her 1st day back at work (on the taxpayers’ dimes, of course)!

    Stay tuned, boys and girls.

  8. John30013 says:

    I would imagine that destroying such licenses would be a felony.

  9. John30013 says:

    They weren’t ‘altered’, they were printed off that way out of the form printing software. There is also a Kentucky Statute (state law) that empowers all duly authorized deputies to carry out all the functions of the chief clerk, including issuing licenses, without the clerk’s own name or signature.

    There is a court order requiring the deputies to issue the licenses. The couples receiving the licenses are legally entitled to do so. They have properly completed all of the information on the license forms. The fact that the county clerk’s name does not appear on those licenses may be a technical violation of the law, but the “good faith” rule combined with the federal court decree means that for all practical purposes these licenses are valid.

    As a matter of fact, one of Kim Davis’ own marriage licenses (she’s had 4, you know) does not include the name of the county clerk, and no one has ever claimed that license was invalid.

  10. John30013 says:

    From what I understand, she only won the last election by a small margin. The town of Morehead is a college town, and may be more liberal-leaning than is generally thought. Davis ran as a Democrat, and no doubt got a few votes just because of the (D) next to her name, not because of her actual politics (which seem quite conservative). It’s entirely possible this little fiasco will lose her the job at the next election.

  11. FLL says:

    You are right in saying people shouldn’t have to drive around the state to get a marriage license. More importantly, one county clerk successfully refusing to grant marriage licenses is an open invitation for other county clerks to join in and do the same, which I think is the sneaky plan that Kim Davis supporters have in mind.

  12. BeccaM says:

    Word was that Davis only barely won the election.

  13. nicho says:

    Not really. In inbred communities like that, people spring to the defense of “their own.” The county has a total population of 23,000. That’s pretty cozy. In South Boston, the state senator for years was Billy Bulger, brother of the most-wanted gangster Whitey Bulger. Billy was probably at least as corrupt as his brother, but had no trouble getting elected over and over and over. It was the tight-knit South Boston community’s way of shoving it up the ass of outsiders. Plus the fact that Billy was the source of hundreds of do-nothing, no-show jobs.

  14. BeccaM says:

    I’ll take the 2nd part first: The reason for not having online applications for marriage licenses is so that the county clerk (or their designated deputy) can verify in person both the legal eligibility and informed consent of those applying. Can you imagine the shenanigans possible if any one person could, simply by stealing someone else’s driver’s license or passport, apply for and have a marriage license formally registered? It’d be a whole new form of potential identity theft…and a deranged stalker’s dream. Or opportunities for shotgun weddings.

    Your point in #1 there is totally apt and on target. I just took a look at my own marriage license from San Bernardino CA. It contains a bunch of names, each of which could serve as a point of investigation if something went awry. Several people involved, including the clerk, deputy clerk, and registrar all affixed their names attesting to the legality of my marriage. Not their personal religiously-motivated approval, as Kim Davis seems to think her job involves, but simply an official registration thereof.

  15. woodroad34 says:

    Agreed. Kimmie would make it too simple. Well, that is, if she doesn’t have any, as yet, unheard of skeletons in her grafting closet, like Boss Tweed. Mr. Smith really needs to go to Rowan County.

  16. woodroad34 says:

    Being a pawn connotes a person of facile personality–which she isn’t; you don’t get to be a managerial government employee by being shy. She’s shrill and shrewish. I don’t doubt she took them up on their offer to represent her because she wanted to swing her own personal malice towards gay marriage with the biggest ax she could find. In Municipal terms, it’s “mutual aid”.

  17. BeccaM says:

    If I lived in Rowan County, Kentucky, I’d certainly be tempted to run against her. Or to support whoever decides to challenge her.

    Thinking long-term, I predict her term as county clerk will not last past the next election, for exactly these reasons. Someone’s going to run and all they have to do is run on a platform of “I will follow the law, period. No exceptions. No injecting my personal beliefs into the performance of my job. And I will end the national embarrassment of Rowan County.”

  18. woodroad34 says:

    I really think a State Auditor needs to get involved just because of what you’ve brought up and…I’m sure…it wouldn’t just be about marriage licenses. If she feels this impudent about issuing licenses, I wonder on what other level she’s become involved with County issues she disagrees with.

    This is what her bible says about selfishness:

    Philippians 2:4 – Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

    1 John 3:17 – But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels [of compassion] from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?

    1 Corinthians 10:24 – Let no man seek his own, but every man another’s [wealth].

    2 Timothy 3:2-4 – For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, (Read More…)

    Philippians 2:3-4 – [Let] nothing [be done] through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. (Read More…)

    Philippians 2:21 – For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s.

    Galatians 6:2 – Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.

    1 Corinthians 13:4-6 – Charity suffereth long, [and] is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, (Read More…)

    Romans 15:1-3 – We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. (Read More…)

    James 4:1-2 – From whence [come] wars and fightings among you? [come they] not hence, [even] of your lusts that war in your members? (Read More…)

    Haggai 1:9 – Ye looked for much, and, lo, [it came] to little; and when ye brought [it] home, I did blow upon it. Why? saith the LORD of hosts. Because of mine house that [is] waste, and ye run every man unto his own house.

    Galatians 5:26 – Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

    1 Timothy 6:17-19 – Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; (Read More…)

    Proverbs 28:27 – He that giveth unto the poor shall not lack: but he that hideth his eyes shall have many a curse.

    Luke 6:32-34 – For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. (Read More…)

    Proverbs 21:13 – Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, but shall not be heard.

    Acts 20:35 – I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.

    Hebrews 13:16 – But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

  19. woodroad34 says:

    Yes, I know. There’s that sense of entitlement and largess–it’s quite apparent. They’re desperately trying to hold onto a dynasty that Kimmie is slowly destroying by showing her constituents how out of touch she is. It’ll be interesting to see if she’s opposed in the next election.

  20. nicho says:

    I worked in courthouse. I’ve seen employees marched out in handcuffs for fucking up like this.

  21. nicho says:

    No, she’s a pawn. I don’t doubt she’s enjoying her 15 minutes of fame, but the NOM/Liberty University people have found a malleable useful idiot to pursue their crusade against LGBT people. You notice none of them are in the slammer. They don’t give a rat’s ass if she is.

  22. BeccaM says:

    The latter being felonies in most jurisdictions, especially if the person who altered the official documents did so knowing their actions were illegal.

  23. nicho says:

    Contract law is one thing. Altering official documents is something else altogether.

  24. BeccaM says:

    Well, according to the reports I’d read, the clerk in Rowan County before Kim Davis took over earlier this year was her own mother, who’d held the office more or less unopposed for decades. Meanwhile, guess which one of the deputy clerks said he would continue not to issue marriage licenses, despite Judge Bunning’s order? Kim Davis’ son.

    They seem basically to view this government job as some kind of inherited legacy, which can be passed down from generation to generation.

  25. woodroad34 says:

    Yeah, the personality is there. She doesn’t like to be thwarted…she’s in charge….no one is going to tell HER what to do! She’s selfish, sociopathic, and egomaniacal. She loves her “power” and the judge rather clipped it. I wonder on what other subjects she’s injected herself in? Voting records/materials; fiscal mishaps, property records? Perhaps a State Auditor needs to get involved.

  26. Don Chandler says:

    In contract law, the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing is a general presumption that the parties to a contract will deal with each other honestly, fairly, and in good faith, so as to not destroy the right of the other party or parties to receive the benefits of the contract. It is implied in every contract in order to reinforce the express covenants or promises of the contract. A lawsuit (or a cause of action) based upon the breach of the covenant may arise when one party to the contract attempts to claim the benefit of a technical excuse for breaching the contract, or when he or she uses specific contractual terms in isolation in order to refuse to perform his or her contractual obligations, despite the general circumstances and understandings between the parties–wiki

    Add good faith and judge Bunning’s “no Shenanigans” demand…those certificates are the real McCoy.

  27. nicho says:

    Or, if you’re brother and sister.

  28. BeccaM says:

    Yep, all true. Then there’s also the fact Davis, even if she were to comply with the technical aspects of issuing, recording, and certifying the marriages, will almost certainly continue to behave like an utter bigoted and judgmental asshat every time a same-sex couple shows up at her office.

  29. nicho says:

    Also, there might be a problem with marriage certificates. I don’t know how it works in KY, but in CA, you get a license from the county clerk. Following the ceremony, the person who officiates returns it to the county clerk who then officially records it. If you need to prove you’re married, you need to get a marriage certificate from the county clerk.

    So, there are three steps where a clerk could interfere — issuing the license, recording the license, or issuing the certificate. If the county clerk were to refuse to record the marriage, no one could issue a certificate of marriage.

  30. BeccaM says:

    I’ve been reading the various accounts on the Intertoobz, including statements from Davis’ lawyers. Sounds like the instant her ample ass hits her Rowan County Clerk’s Office chair, she’s going to stop all marriages again. Which I don’t doubt would mean a fairly swift return to jail.

    Although I know for a fact I would have completely lost patience with this insufferable bigot long ago, it would seem Judge Bunning is doing everything by the book, including giving Davis repeated opportunities to comply. Basically, by time he finally sends her to jail for a very long time, nobody will be able to question that it was the minimum necessary action to enforce his court’s repeatedly-upheld orders.

  31. BeccaM says:

    Well, I wouldn’t pay the least big of attention to the legal opinions of Kim Davis’ lawyers. Those Liberty (sic) Counsel attorneys — especially Staver — are idiots and just about demolished any credibility when they kept declaring that SCOTUS had no legitimate right to decide on the Constitutionality of laws.

    However, if those deputy clerks indeed did this, they were issuing licenses in violation of Kentucky state law, which specifies to almost anal-retentive detail what information must appear on them. They might also find themselves in a bit of legal trouble.

  32. Doug105 says:

    I believe thats only for the underaged.

  33. BeccaM says:

    This is and always has been key.

    Liberals and progressives and lots of people can tell the difference between Marriage[1] — which is the ceremony one may or may not have within the confines of a religious faith — and Marriage[2]. The latter being the 100% entirely secular civil-law system of applying for a license, having the appropriate signatures and information filled out on it, and then have it registered with the state, whereby you are granted a Marriage[2] certificate.

    Marriage[1] is not legally binding in any sense whatsoever and is not recognized by the government as any form of Marriage[2]. You can have Marriage[2] without Marriage[1] at all. Lots of gay and lesbian couples, such as my wife and I, only had Marriage[1], through our own religious practices, for more than a decade, but we knew all along that it was in no way equivalent to the Marriage[2] straight couples could obtain on demand, with or without any religious Marriage[1] add-on.

    Conservatives, particularly these bigoted fundamentalist Christianist types, either deliberately or through ignorance have no effin’ clue there is a difference between the two types of marriage. (Personally, I think many of them deliberately try to blur the line and confuse people.) For some reason, they either don’t know or don’t care that when some priest or pastor or minister says, “I now declare you man and wife” — you are, in the eyes of the law, not anything yet. If you tear up or never file the filled-out marriage license with the state, there is no marriage (Marriage[2].)

  34. nicho says:

    Apparently, however, there was a hitch in issuing the licenses. They were altered from the official form:

    The marriage licenses obtained by three couples in Rowan County last week were altered to remove the name of jailed county clerk Kim Davis, according to a court document. … The information was in a status report that attorneys for couples filed Tuesday at the direction of U.S. District Judge David Bunning. ….

    Copies of licenses issues last week and filed in the court record show that where Davis’ name ordinarily would be, the words “Rowan County” were used instead. … So instead of the licenses saying they were issued on a certain date “in the office of Kim Davis, Rowan County County Clerk,” which would be standard, examples included in the court file say they were issued “in the office of Rowan County, Rowan County County Clerk.”
    ….

    An attorney for Davis said in a news conference Friday afternoon that Davis thinks the licenses that her office issued Friday are void. … “They are not being issued under the authority of the Rowan County clerk’s office. They are not worth the paper that they are written on,” attorney Mat Staver said Friday after meeting with Davis in the Carter County jail in Grayson.

    http://www.kentucky.com/2015/09/08/4025586_marriage-licenses-issued-friday.html

    So, back to the old drawing board.

  35. nicho says:

    The point is, of course, they shouldn’t have to be driving around the state trying to find a license. What if they drive the 30 miles and some clerk there gets the Jesus bug up his or her ass? Then, what?

  36. nicho says:

    I was misinformed. Thank you.

  37. Don Chandler says:

    Judge Bunning was true to his office. He separated Church and State without personal religious bias. He put OUR laws before Kim Davis’ beliefs [No brainer for most of us…but it’s Kentucky.] Even releasing Davis before the matter got bigger seemed smart.

    Heros: the couples that got married–they were so well informed and decent and forceful. Federal Judge Bunning for not politicizing the matter. Kagan for letting the full supreme court reject Kim Davis’ appeal.

    Unlikely Hero: Joe Davis for saying how government shouldn’t bully his wife while forgetting that his wife was bullying every one in line at the County Clerks office.

    Goats: Huckabee and Cruz…shameless politicians. ” [this is about] Criminalizing Christianity” [Huckabee Hiperbole.] And on removing an obstacle of justice by temporarily jailing Kim Davis, “an outrage!” [Dumbo Cruz.] So dumb.

  38. Indigo says:

    Marriage license from the state. Wedding theater at a church. It seems to me those are two entirely separate behaviors, the one involving certain tax situations and legal access, protection, and respect. The other is theater for friends and relatives and paying guests, money, gifts, whatever. The church wedding as theater is extremely popular and considerably more expensive but perfect for those photo opportunities that are so important to those who think they’re important. All in all, this entire circus is throwing doubt on the “sacred institution” of marriage from several directions. Tell me again why it even matters? Other than as a cohabitation license?

  39. FLL says:

    Not to repeat myself, but in my reply to VaughnIAM below, I presented my doubts about the situation that you’re describing.

  40. FLL says:

    That supports my own comment above that the authority to marry people is a state functions (not county or federal). “By the power vested in me by the state of Kentucky (New York, Geogia, etc.)…”

  41. VaughnIAM says:

    Wrong. If you get a license in any county in Kentucky you have to get married in Kentucky for the license to be valid.
    It’s a state license not a county license.

  42. FLL says:

    Let me skip ahead to January, when the Kentucky General Assembly convenes. Some have suggested that the Kentucky legislature change state law to solve the problem, but here are some complications:

    (1) If the Kentucky legislature orders that the county clerk’s name doesn’t appear on marriage licenses, by whose authority is the marriage license granted? Is it implied that the governor of Kentucky is authorizing the marriage licenses because the issuance of marriage licenses, driver’s licenses and such are part of the executive branch of state government? This leads us to the complications in the other possible fix…

    (2) If the Kentucky legislature orders that Kentucky residents apply for marriage licenses online (thus avoiding the county clerk’s office altogether), the online process would be operating under the authority of the current governor of Kentucky. What if the next Kentucky governor is a Republican who wants to pull a George Wallace maneuver and stop issuing licenses to same-sex couples statewide—because of his sincerely held religious beliefs blah blah blah?

    When it comes to marriage licenses as well as officiating marriages, the buck stops at the governor’s desk, not the U.S. president’s desk. As proof of that, we need only listen to the words from any marriage ceremony in the United States: “By the power vested in me by the state of Kentucky (New York, Georgia, etc.)…” The authority to marry people is still a state-level function. It should be noted that Governor George Wallace did step aside at the schoolhouse door (University of Alabama) rather than be jailed for contempt of a federal court order.

  43. nicho says:

    Well, in KY, you have to get your marriage license in the country in which you reside. Rowan County has only 23,000 people. I’m guessing that most, if not all, people who were waiting to get married, got their licenses while she was in the pokey. So, it could be a while before someone else comes along.

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