Supreme Court denies Kim Davis’s request for stay. Will she make a final stand?

Kim Davis really doesn’t want gay and lesbian couples to get married under her watch. At all. But after the Supreme Court refused to hear her appeal yesterday, she may be out of options:

Davis had appealed the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals decision ordering her to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples starting today. Justice Elena Kagan denied the request, which would have gone to the full court if at least three justices had indicated that they wanted her case heard.

That’s right: Of the four dissenting justices in the Obergefell v Hodges decision making marriage equality the law of the land, at least two of them didn’t consider Davis’s appeal worthy of consideration.

And we really shouldn’t be that surprised. Thus far, Davis has lost every legal battle she has fought. Court after court and judge after judge have ruled that Davis’s First Amendment rights are not violated by the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Constitution. As a public official, she has to do her job or quit. Her personal opinions about changes in her job description don’t change those circumstances in the least.

In her appeal for a stay, Davis argued that the act of signing a marriage license constituted her endorsement of the marriage in question, which is utterly absurd. She doesn’t know any of the people coming into her office for marriage licenses; she just signs the forms.

Kim Davis, screenshot via YouTube

Kim Davis, screenshot via YouTube

The people whose job is it to approve or disapprove of marriages have a different job title. They’re called pastors.

While it’s difficult to remove elected officials such as Davis from office, official misconduct charges have been filed against Davis, who has served as Rowan County Clerk for nearly thirty years (although her last election was relatively close). Davis is also facing multiple lawsuits from both same-sex and opposite-sex couples who have been denied marriage licenses since the Obergefell v Hodges decision.

Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern made an increasingly plausible argument yesterday that Davis is being manipulated by her lawyers into taking this fight much farther than she should. Her lawyers, from the Liberty Council, almost certainly know that they have no chance at winning any of the cases they’re arguing on her behalf, but are nonetheless benefitting from the Memories Pizza-style publicity that comes with waxing homophobic and losing, confirming conservatives deepest fears about the Gaystapo’s devious, anti-Christian agenda. As Stern wrote:

Good lawyers don’t usually tell their clients to defy lawful court orders, especially when jail time is a real possibility. Yet the Liberty Counsel didn’t mind putting their client at risk—perhaps because the idea of a middle-aged woman being hauled off to jail for purportedly following her conscience would send thousands of anti-gay Americans reaching for their pitchforks (and checkbooks).

Davis is planning on showing up to work today. She is not planning on issuing marriage licenses. If and when she fails to carry out her responsibilities, she’ll have dared the state to impose consequences. We could be in for an unnecessarily epic showdown today.

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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16 Responses to “Supreme Court denies Kim Davis’s request for stay. Will she make a final stand?”

  1. Qwertyy650 says:

    She’ll have her chance when she dies and faces her deity. As for me, I’m sick of seeing her face all over the Internet.

  2. Moderator3 says:

    Thank you for your concern. It’s kind of you to be so concerned. Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on your way out.

  3. BHR says:

    She is a woman who understands our true relationship with God. All the people who have turned from God will regret their supporting the perverts and no longer having morals.

  4. BHR says:

    I hope she keeps refusing to issue marriage licenses to the perverts.

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  6. Nicholas A Kocal says:

    The lawyers that are telling her to violate the law should also be held in contempt and lose their license to practice law.

  7. BeccaM says:

    Besides official misconduct charges, contempt-of-court charges have been filed:

    Plaintiffs have established a prima facia case, in that they have shown by sufficient evidence that Defendant Davis, in refusing to grant Plaintiffs Miller and Roberts a marriage license following the U.S. Supreme Court’s denial of her most recent (and final) attempt to stay the August 12, 2015, preliminary injunction, has, in fact, violated a definite and specific order of this Court.

    Because Davis cannot show either that she is unable to comply with the August 12, 2015, order or that she has taken all reasonable steps to comply, this Court is left with no choice but to hold her in contempt. Plaintiffs do not seek to compel Davis’ compliance through incarceration. Since Defendant Davis continues to collect compensation from the Commonwealth for duties she fails to perform, Plaintiffs urge the the Court to impose financial penalties sufficiently serious and increasingly onerous to compel Davis’ immediate compliance without further delay.

    And apparently Ms. Davis’ current husband (#4 for her) is threatening gun violence for same-sex marriage supporters.

  8. Indigo says:

    Her watch is over. Now for the horrible but biblical rending of robes and gnashing of teeth.

  9. therling says:

    “Rowan County officials announced Friday
    that they have asked the attorney general to charge Kim Davis with
    misconduct under KRS 522.020 and KRS 522.030. One is a Class A
    misdemeanor punishable with imprisonment not to exceed 12 months and
    fine of $500. The other is a Class B misdemeanor punishable with up to
    90 days imprisonment and a fine of $250.”

  10. Opinionated Cat Lover says:

    Emphasis on ‘her bitter end’. :)

  11. dcinsider says:

    Answer: Yes. She is ignoring the court order. The lunatic religious fanatics have found their martyr. Next stop? Federal prison.

    Apparently Orange is the new Cross.

  12. MoonDragon says:

    “Do you know what damage would happen to this bulldozer if it ran over you? Absolutely none.” Go ahead, Kim. Lie down in front of that bull dozer.

  13. Snarki, child of Loki says:

    No doubt she’ll barricade herself in her office, with a stockpile of guns and ammunition, with a manifesto scrawled in purple crayon on the door: “NO GHEYS! ARGLE BARGLE DERP!”

    Just brick up the doors and windows and walk away slowly…

  14. percysowner says:

    The answer is yes. She’s refusing to issue marriage licenses She’s bravely gone into her office, shut the door, closed the blinds and is standing up for the “authority of God” or rather hiding out from people who will say nasty things about her.

  15. Don Chandler says:

    Every small town has a kim davis: a willful self-absorbed bigot who can’t be pushed around. She’ll fight it to her bitter end.

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