Rule of Law, or, Rule of Man
An Analysis of the Kim Davis Fiasco
Outpost of Freedom
September 8, 2015
The Supreme Court and States’ Tenth Amendment Rights
The Constitution created a Union. That Union was of the several States, and the Constitution was written to join those States into a confederation, with a federal government that dealt only within the powers and authorities defined in the document. The autonomy of states was assured within the Constitution, though doubts arose as to whether the federal government might attempt to secure more power than was intended and granted to it.
The most significant clarification of that intent was laid out in the Preamble to the Bill of Rights. A preamble sets forth the purpose of a document, and that which was ascribed to the first ten Amendments reads, as follows:
The Preamble To The Bill Of Rights
Congress of the United States
begun and held at the City of New-York, on
Wednesday the fourth of March, one thousand seven hundred and eighty nine.
The Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, two thirds of both Houses concurring, that the following Articles be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States as amendments to the Constitution of the United States, all, or any of which articles, when ratified by three fourths of the said Legislatures, to be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of the said Constitution; viz.
Articles in addition to, and Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, proposed by Congress and ratified by the Legislatures of the several States, pursuant to the fifth Article of the original Constitution.
The last two amendments made even more obvious the limited role of the federal government:
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
After the Civil War, a Fourteenth Amendment was ratified (the lawfulness of that ratification may be questioned, though that is not the topic of this article). It stated that no State could “deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” However, it was not intended to, nor did early application of that provision even suggest that there was one set of laws that applied to all, and if the states were in agreement over an issue, or each State had addressed an issue, that the issue in question was not one that was subject to federal approval.
The rights protected by the Constitution would have to extend to all citizens, not all people, as was clear by the wording in the Amendment. Those rights, however, were deemed natural rights pertaining to “life, liberty, and property”. They were not rights which would take from one to give to another.
In 1973, a Supreme Court decision demonstrated that the rights of the States, so solidly secured by the Constitution, would no longer be exercised by the States, if the federal government decided that it wanted to bring any aspect of our lives under its wing. This is clearly demonstrated in the decision that expanded the government’s role in abortion, Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973). The decision defied previously held limitation of authority, was widely accepted by the public, perhaps not fully understood were the ramifications of the expansion of federal powers.
Justice Rehnquist explained the problem and the ramifications in his dissenting opinion, when he wrote:
“To reach its result [the majority opinion], the Court necessarily has had to find within the scope of the Fourteenth Amendment a right that was apparently completely unknown to the drafters of the Amendment. As early as 1821, the first state law dealing directly with abortion was enacted by the Connecticut Legislature. By the time of the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment in 1868, there were at least 36 laws enacted by state or territorial legislatures limiting abortion. While many States have amended or updated their laws, 21 of the laws on the books in 1868 remain in effect today. Indeed, the Texas statute struck down today was, as the majority notes, first enacted in 1857 and has remained substantially unchanged to the present time.”
“There apparently was no question concerning the validity of this provision or of any of the other state statutes when the Fourteenth Amendment was adopted. The only conclusion possible from this history is that the drafters did not intend to have the Fourteenth Amendment withdraw from the States the power to legislate with respect to this matter.”
So, we have seven out of nine justices expanding the power of the federal government; usurping from the States those rights that were retained by them. And, unfortunately, we had a naive public that applauded, or damned, the decision of the Court, not even considering the affect on our Constitution and the rights of the States.
Now, to get to where we are going, we must address another Supreme Court decision, this being made in June 2015, and bears heavily on the current situation regarding Rowan County, Kentucky, County Clerk Kim Davis, who, as of this writing, sits in Rowan County Detention Center (121 Lee Avenue, Morehead, Kentucky), under a Contempt of Court charge.
This charge stems from another Supreme Court decision, decided in June 2015. That case is Obergefell, et al. v. Hodges, Director, Ohio Department of Health, et al., 576 US ___. It was filed “claiming that respondent state officials violate the Fourteenth Amendment by denying them the right to marry or to have marriages lawfully performed in another State given full recognition.” So, by the simple wording in the complaint, “the right to marry”, we have something that was never considered a right, it was always, at best, a religious or civil choice, converted and accepted by the Court to be deemed a right, having nothing to do with “equal protection of the laws.” There is no “protection” in marriage simply the notification that two people, of opposite sexes, are bound together in matrimony. Or, as Noah Webster described it the first American Dictionary (Webster’s 1828), marriage is “the legal union of a man and woman for life,” which served the purposes of “preventing the promiscuous intercourse of the sexes . . . promoting domestic felicity, and . . . securing the maintenance and education of children.” So, is a legalized union to be considered, now, to be a “right”?
The conclusion to the decision reads:
“Finally, it must be emphasized that religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned. The First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths, and to their own deep aspirations to continue the family structure they have long revered. The same is true of those who oppose same-sex marriage for other reasons. In turn, those who believe allowing same-sex marriage is proper or indeed essential, whether as a matter of religious conviction or secular belief, may engage those who disagree with their view in an open and searching debate. The Constitution, however, does not permit the State to bar same-sex couples from marriage on the same terms as accorded to couples of the opposite sex.”
So, Kim Davis is free “to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned.” However, “[t]he Constitution… does not permit the State to bar same-sex couples from marriage on the same terms as accorded to couples of the opposite sex.” What kind of double-speak is that? The “right” is a part of the First Amendment. The abomination is the contradiction that the Constitution does not permit. Try as I might, I cannot find that, anywhere.
In an age where the enumerated rights are under fire, we have courts granting rights that were never considered rights, nor were they enumerated, and, if they were rights, the came strictly under the purview of the state.
By definition, this process of expansion of federal power and usurpation of state power is known as the “incorporation doctrine- a constitutional doctrine through which selected provisions of the Bill of Rights are made applicable to the states through the Due Process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.” So, we must ask which provision of the Bill of Rights is made applicable to the states, or, if the description needs to be updated to “Incorporation Usurpation Doctrine”
To exemplify this overarching expansion of federal authority, we can look to Justice Roberts’s dissenting opinion in Obergefell, where he wrote:
“Petitioners make strong arguments rooted in social policy and considerations of fairness. They contend that same-sex couples should be allowed to affirm their love and commitment through marriage, just like opposite-sex couples. That position has undeniable appeal; over the past six years, voters and legislators in eleven States and the District of Columbia have revised their laws to allow marriage between two people of the same sex.
“But this Court is not a legislature. Whether same-sex marriage is a good idea should be of no concern to us. Under the Constitution, judges have power to say what the law is, not what it should be. The people who ratified the Constitution authorized courts to exercise “neither force nor will but merely judgment.”
“Although the policy arguments for extending marriage to same-sex couples may be compelling, the legal arguments for requiring such an extension are not. The fundamental right to marry does not include a right to make a State change its definition of marriage. And a State’s decision to maintain the meaning of marriage that has persisted in every culture throughout human history can hardly be called irrational. In short, our Constitution does not enact any one theory of marriage. The people of a State are free to expand marriage to include same-sex couples, or to retain the historic definition.
“This universal definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman is no historical coincidence. Marriage did not come about as a result of a political movement, discovery, disease, war, religious doctrine, or any other moving force of world history–and certainly not as a result of a prehistoric decision to exclude gays and lesbians. It arose in the nature of things to meet a vital need: ensuring that children are conceived by a mother and father committed to raising them in the stable conditions of a lifelong relationship.
Though our very mobile and fast-paced society has had an effect on the “lifelong relationship”, it has done nothing to warrant an extension of that purpose to achieve marriage, for marriage sake, as a right, rather than the original indentation of providing security for the children (posterity).
Whether we are a Democracy, a Republic, or both, we are, without question, to be a self-governing people. At this time, there are over 300 million people in this country. Of that number, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported, in 2013, that only 1.6% of the population was queer (homosexual, both sexes). That is not a minority, it is an insignificant number. And, there is nothing that prohibits them from living as they choose. Those laws have slowly fallen to our modern world, where they are not prosecuted; rather, they are allowed to practice their life-style, without legal penalty. Isn’t it enough that the biblical punishment is no longer inflicted, or are we to allow this insignificant group hold sway over our lives, our morality, and our culture?
Of those 300 million plus, they are represented in their respective state legislatures by hundreds of senators and representatives, chosen by the citizens of those states to enact laws. In no state is the court given the right to enact laws, simply, the “power to say what the law is, not what it should be.” ONLY the representatives of the people, and in accordance with the respective State Constitution make the laws.
Likewise, in the federal government, there are 435 representatives and 100 senators, those, also, elected to represent the will of the people, and enact laws accordingly.
So, we have thousands of the representatives of the people who have enacted laws in accordance with the will of the people, and those laws no longer act unfavorably on the insignificant number. That is what was intended, and that is what should continue to be.
However, we find that a simple majority of nine Justices, yes, just five appointed individuals, not chosen by the people, themselves, have established an apparent right to enact laws contrary to the will of the people and their representatives. That is an oligarchy (rule by a small, select group), and, as you will not find “marriage” in the federal Constitution, you will neither find “oligarchy” as our form of government.
Unless, of course, the people will stand idly by as those robed “oligarchs” continue to expand their authority, destroying our whole concept of self-government.
The Road to Contempt of the People
Based upon the Supreme Court’s contradictory decision in Obergefell, et al. v. Hodges, Director, Ohio Department of Health, et al, James Yates, April Miller, and others, filed complaints with the United States District Court, Eastern District of Kentucky, Northern Division at Ashland, against Kim Davis, individually and as County Clerk of Rowan County.
The Complaint by Yates was brought under 42 USC §1983:
“Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress, except that in any action brought against a judicial officer for an act or omission taken in such officer’s judicial capacity, injunctive relief shall not be granted unless a declaratory decree was violated or declaratory relief was unavailable. For the purposes of this section, any Act of Congress applicable exclusively to the District of Columbia shall be considered to be a statute of the District of Columbia.”
Now, “secured by the Constitution and laws” will be addressed, later on. However, we see that the “exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States [Article I, § 8, clause 17].” comes in to play here, notwithstanding the fact that the Constitution and the laws are both supportive of the right of a State to make its own laws, and by the broadest stretch of imagination, does not include marriage, a civil bond.
The Complaint also incorporates a letter from the Governor, Steven L. Beshear, to the “Kentucky County Clerks, dated June 26, 2015. The letter reads, in part:
“As elected officials, each of us has taken an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of Kentucky. The Obergefell decision makes plain that the Constitution requires that Kentucky – and all states – must license and recognize the marriages of same-sex couples. Neither your oath nor the Supreme Court dictates what you must believe. But as elected officials, they do prescribe how we must act.”
“Effective today, Kentucky will recognize as valid all same sex marriages performed in other states and in Kentucky. In accordance with my instruction, all executive branch agencies are already working to make any operational changes that will be necessary to implement the Supreme Court decision. Now that same-sex couples are entitled to the issuance of a marriage license, the Department of Libraries and Archives will be sending a gender-neutral form to you today, along with instructions for its use.”
“You should consult with your county attorney on any particular aspects related to the implementation of the Supreme Court’s decision.”
So, the Governor first informs the recipients that they had “taken an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of Kentucky.” Then, he provides his solution, whereby “same-sex couples are entitled to the issuance of a marriage license, the Department of Libraries and Archives will be sending a gender-neutral form to you today, along with instructions for its use.”
So, the oath is to the constitutions, and, presumably, the laws made in accordance thereof. And then, he talks about entitlements. What? I suppose he didn’t feel any more comfortable than I do in suggesting that they are “rights”, rather, that queers are “entitled” to a legal bond intended to assure that children are conceived and brought up in a healthy environment.
Finally, he wants to “implement” the Supreme Court decision. So, which constitution provides a directive, or even implies, that a decision must be implemented, if not an enacted law passed in accordance with those constitutions? Does the oath bind them to a Court decision?
The US Constitution provides the authority to enact laws in Article I, § 1, to wit:
“All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.”
“All legislative Powers” means what it says, “All”. Nobody else in the federal government is empowered to make laws. The Court can only rule on the constitutionality of a law. Even without referring to the “Case Law Method”, which has moved the courts away from the Constitution, simply building upon previous decision, without regard to the Constitution, we can see that something is amiss — in violation of the Constitution.
Now, let’s look at the Kentucky Constitution, beginning with the Kentucky Bill of Rights:
Section 2. Absolute and arbitrary power denied. Absolute and arbitrary power over the lives, liberty and property of freemen exists nowhere in a republic, not even in the largest majority.
Section 4. Power inherent in the people – Right to alter, reform, or abolish government. All power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority and instituted for their peace, safety, happiness and the protection of property. For the advancement of these ends, they have at all times an inalienable and indefeasible right to alter, reform or abolish their government in such manner as they may deem proper.
So, the Kentucky Constitution disallows “[a]bsolute and arbitrary power over the lives [and] liberty” of the people. So, just what about the decision regarding the current case (Yates, Miller, et al) and the charge of Contempt of Court (which will soon be discussed) is not “absolute and arbitrary”?
And, if “[a]ll power is inherent in the people” and “founded on their [people] authority”, how can a judge, at the lowest level of federal courts, make a decision, based upon a decision, though not enacted into law, be used to deprive Kim Davis of her liberty?
The Bill of Rights concludes with:
Section 26. General powers subordinate to Bill of Rights – Laws contrary thereto are void. To guard against transgression of the high powers which we have delegated, We Declare that every thing in this Bill of Rights is excepted out of the general powers of government, and shall forever remain inviolate; and all laws contrary thereto, or contrary to this Constitution, shall be void.
Just consider what “inviolate” means.
Now, from the Kentucky Constitution, the Legislative Branch:
Section 29. Legislative power vested in General Assembly. The legislative power shall be vested in a House of Representatives and a Senate, which, together, shall be styled the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
Section 55. When laws to take effect – Emergency legislation. No act, except general appropriation bills, shall become a law until ninety days after the adjournment of the session at which it was passed, except in cases of emergency, when, by the concurrence of a majority of the members elected to each House of the General Assembly, by a yea and nay vote entered upon their journals, an act may become a law when approved by the Governor; but the reasons for the emergency that justifies this action must be set out at length in the journal of each House.
Section 68. Civil officers liable to impeachment – Judgment – Criminal liability. The Governor and all civil officers shall be liable to impeachment for any misdemeanors in office; but judgment in such cases shall not extend further than removal from office, and disqualification to hold any office of honor, trust or profit under this Commonwealth; but the party convicted shall, nevertheless, be subject and liable to indictment, trial and punishment by law.
So, as in the federal government, “legislative power [enacting laws]” is vested in the General Assembly. Nobody else can make laws.
The Kentucky Constitution makes provision for “emergency legislation”, which, under the circumstances, would have to be done to “implement” the decision, and to protect the County Clerk, who is bound to uphold the laws enacted in accordance with both constitutions. It would appear that Kim Davis suffered in jail because the legislative branch was remiss in their responsibility to the people and the officials of the state.
Finally, absent an impeachment, it would appear that no legal action could be taken against an official of the state. The qualifier, “but the convicted party” would require such impeachment prior to legal action.
However, what we are finding, in this current situation, is that the lowest level judge in the federal system, can, single-handedly, deny an elected official, under the authority of the state Constitution, her liberty.
On September 1, 2015, April Miller filed a Motion to Hold Defendant Kim Davis in Contempt of Court, stating:
“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 [sic] Court to impose financial penalties sufficiently serious and increasingly onerous to compel Davis’ immediate compliance without further delay.
However during a hearing on September 3, Judge David L. Bunning arbitrarily opted to incarcerate Kim Davis, in Contempt of Court. In that hearing, the minute notes show:
“Defendant Davis shall be remanded to the custody of the United States Marshal pending compliance of the Courts Order of August 12, 2015, or until such time as the Court vacates the contempt Order.”
It appears that the Judge opted for jail time in lieu if the requested monetary damages.
Kim Davis was released, on September 8, during the course of preparing this article. An understanding was made that the marriage licenses issued by the County will not bear her name or title, though the will simply say, “Rowan County, Kentucky” at the line for the Clerk/ Deputy Clerk signature.
Laws on the books
Many people are claiming that Kim Davis violated the law by not issuing marriage licenses to queers that wanted to be married to each other.
We have all been taught that we are a nation of laws, not a nation of men. So, let’s look at what the responsibility of an elected official is, if their job requires that they obey the law.
First source is the Kentucky Constitution, which, in Section 223A states:
“Only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Kentucky. A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized.”
Next, we have Kentucky Statutes:
“402.005 Definition of marriage. As used and recognized in the law of the Commonwealth, “marriage” refers only to the civil status, condition, or relation of one (1) man and one (1) woman united in law for life, for the discharge to each other and the community of the duties legally incumbent upon those whose association is founded on the distinction of sex.”
Well, Kim Davis has taken a position that requires that she uphold the laws. That pretty much settles it from the State side of the matter. But, since it was a federal judge, maybe we need to look at what the federal government has to say.
I find no reference to (marriage” in the Constitution, though I do find the specific reservation in the Tenth Amendment:
“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
So, we find that since there is no delegation to the federal government, or courts, regarding marriage, in the Constitution, then that authority must be one of those “reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
So, does the federal government have anything to say about marriage? Yes, they do; however, it pertains ONLY to “administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States”, and has nothing, at all, to do with licensing (legal permission) for marriage. Clearly, that “right” is reserved to the state.
1 U.S.C. § 7 : Definition of “marriage” and “spouse”
“In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the word “marriage” means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word “spouse” refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.”
So, let’s review the Kim Davis incident. Kim is an elected official, the County Clerk of Rowan County, Kentucky. When she took the position, she also took an oath to uphold the federal and state constitutions and the law of the land.
Both constitutions provide for the legislative bodies (Senate and House of Representatives) to have the sole authority to enact laws. If a judge rules an act unconstitutional, then the legislative body must enact a law consistent with the ruling. That is the only way that it can work. It is not up to the individual to determine what she can, or cannot, do. It is those who have taken the role in government to enact laws, well, to enact laws.
Kim Davis should not be held in contempt of court. If anyone is to be held in contempt of court, it should be those in the legislative bodies that leave on the LAW books laws that are unconstitutional. They are paid far better than Kim Davis is, and their job is to write the laws that she is to enforce. Every member of the state legislature should be willing to sit in jail, in lieu of Kim Davis, for she is the only one that is upholding the law. The same might be said of the Congress, as they, too, recognizing their limited role in the matter of marriage.
As a final thought, Kim Davis has stated that she refused to issue the licenses because of her religious beliefs. Had a law been lawfully enacted that allowed queers to marry, then Kim Davis would have to decide whether she wanted to continue in her job, or not, based upon a law that was properly enacted. To put that in more interesting terms, if any legislative body (not judicial) thinks that they have a right to change a definition this is thousands of year old, based upon the Bible, which defines marriage, then those in that legislative body have placed themselves above God.