Two Justices Really Want To Revisit Gay Marriage Ruling. Let’s Not Panic, Please.
Kim Davis, the former Kentucky County Clerk who made national news for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, is briefly back in the news today because the Supreme Court declined to hear her case. Despite that refusal, some observers are concerned that the Court might overturn the decision that made gay marriage the law of the land, a fear fed partly by some comments by Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito and partly by the nomination of Catholic conservative Amy Coney Barrett to the bench.
Kim Davis v. David Ermold is not, on the surface, about gay marriage recognition itself. It’s about qualified immunity, the legal principle that often shields government workers from personal civil liability when their behavior violates citizens’ rights. Davis faces civil lawsuits over her refusal to issue marriage licenses. She attempted to argue that she was covered by qualified immunity, even though the Supreme Court had ruled in Obergefell v. Hodges, that states must recognize and permit same-sex marriages. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth District rejected this argument, meaning she could be personally sued and held liable in civil court for violating the rights of those whose marriages she refused to license.
Davis asked the U.S. Supreme Court to weigh in, and today it declined to hear her case. When the Supreme Court rejects a case, there is often no statement or explanation, but sometimes those who dissent from the majority decision will write separately to explain why they think the court should have heard the case. Today’s orders include a response written by Thomas and joined by Alito. But they are not dissenting from the court’s refusal to hear the Davis case. They agree with the majority decision to decline.
Thomas and Alito contend that the Court has still not properly dealt with the religious liberties of those who object to the legal recognition of same-sex marriage. “If the States had been allowed to resolve this question through legislation, they could have included accommodations for those who h
Article from Latest – Reason.com