Some of you might have heard people saying things or seen people posting things about how Kim Davis was being unjustly jailed because the Supreme Court cannot make laws, and therefore–since no new law was made for her to break–she was not breaking a law and was being wrongly imprisoned. This idea was even given an air of credibility because former Governor and current presidential candidate Mike Huckabee echoed the same sentiment. And then, a bunch of people (who didn’t know any better, and instinctively trusted Mike Huckabee, a self-professed “man of God”) thought back to high school civics and government and thought, “I seem to remember something about how only the legislative branch of government can make laws–NOT the Supreme Court…. Yeah, that sounds about right! What’s that phrase everyone at Fox”News” is saying? Oh yeah…. Judicial Activism? JUDICIAL OVERREACH!!!!”
Well, I can forgive the public for not knowing any better, but one of two things is going on with Mike Huckabee…. Either 1) He honestly doesn’t know how our government works (which means he has absolutely NO BUSINESS running for President of the United States), or 2) He is intentionally spreading lies in an attempt to pander to a bunch of scared, angry, ignorant white people. And he spent 11 years as Governor of Arkansas, so I’d bet just about everything I have that it’s #2 (in more than one way). Believing a lie is one thing. Intentionally spreading lies–especially from a position of power–is something altogether different. And Mike Huckabee should be ashamed of himself. He is a bad dog, who made a mess on the carpet, and now he needs the American public to rub his nose in it, for the sake of all the other dogs who are watching.
Like most good lies, Mike Huckabee’s lie has a bit of truth to it. The SCOTUS does NOT, in fact, make laws. But what it DOES do is that when there is unclarity in a law (or in the highest law of the land–The Constitution), it makes decisions that help to clarify the laws. So, for example, there was a time not too long ago when some states had laws forbidding “whites” from marrying “colored” people. Virginia was one of those states (the Virginia law was called “The Racial Integrity Act of 1924”), and in 1959 Mildred Loving, a black woman, and Richard Loving, a white man, were sentenced to a year in prison for marrying each other. Their sentence was suspended for 25 years on the condition that they would never return to Virginia. In 1964, the lovings sued the state of Virginia, and on July 12, 1967, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that Anti-Miscegenation laws (at the time, 16 states still had them–All of them in the South) were unconstitutional.
When the Supreme Court did this, they did not make a new law…. They interpreted a law that was already on the books. You see, in 1868 the 14th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified. The 14th Amendment has some different parts. The first clause reaffirmed that people who were born here or naturalized had state and federal citizenship regardless of race. The second clause basically said states couldn’t abridge a citizen’s rights. The third clause guaranteed the “due process of law.” And the fourth clause said that no person could be denied “equal protection of the law,” and it is known as the “Equal Protection Clause.” In the case of “Loving vs. Virginia,” the SCOTUS ruled that Anti-Miscegenation laws violated both a person’s right to “due process” and “equal protection.” It didn’t make a new law…. It CLARIFIED an old one. In the opinion for the unanimous Court, Chief Justice Earl Warren wrote, “Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State.”
This landmark decision was referred to multiple times by the SCOTUS when reaching their decision about the constitutionality of state laws forbidding same-sex marriage. The case was a bit different, because for the entirety of the United States’ existence, marriage had always been defined as being between a man and a woman…. But appeals to tradition are not legally valid–In other words, basically saying “But we’ve ALWAYS discriminated against the gays!” is not a good enough reason to keep on discriminating against them. But this has been what the Supreme Court–at its best–has always done: It has extended to discriminated groups the rights that are fundamental to them. The right to marry is considered a fundamental right. And just because your religion (or Kim Davis’ religion) doesn’t view the love and commitment of a gay couple as being legitimate, it doesn’t change their fundamental right to equal protection under the law. When democracy is used to withhold the rights of the minority, that’s EXACTLY when we need a Constitution. And a Supreme Court. And no, a County Clerk’s right to discriminate against a minority group–even if she claims to do so for religious reasons–is not a right that is protected by the Constitution. People used their “religious beliefs” as the reasoning for wanting “Racial Integrity.” And they still do….
So then, when Kim Davis–acting as an agent of the state–refused to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples, she was breaking a law that was just recently clarified…. Namely, that the Equal Protection Clause applies to gay folks as well. So Kim Davis is no “Freedom Fighter.” She is no Rosa Parks, and she is certainly no Martin Luther King, Jr. If she is any historical figure, she is the stubborn, bigoted person who sentenced Mildred and Richard Loving to prison for wanting to get married. And you know why we don’t know that person’s name? Because that person was on the wrong side of history. At worst that person is hatefully ignorant, and at best that person is a sad, misguided soul. And I believe that is who Kim Davis is: A sad, misguided soul. It’s no excuse, but she honestly probably doesn’t know any better.
But you know who DOES know better? Mike Frigging Huckabee. He is riding the wave of white anger and fear, and he is not only pandering to those angry, fearful people, but he is doing it by spreading information about the Supreme Court that he KNOWS is false. Mike Huckabee knows how the Supreme Court works, but he has people all worked up and afraid that the Supreme Court is going to put them in jail for their religious beliefs. He is a liar, and a charlatan. He is using the whole “I’m a Christian Candidate” thing to try to attain a position of power within a government whose fundamental principles he genuinely seems to hate. His words and actions these last few years have been despicable. He is a theocrat of the worst kind–One that is dishonest. I didn’t think this was possible, but I think he might be a more dangerous candidate than Donald Trump. I would vote for a Donald Trump/Sean Hannity ticket before I’d vote for Mike Huckabee for president, and that it SAYING A LOT.
Man! Mike Huckabee got me all worked up…. Now, I honestly hope this is the last time I write about this garbage. There is some important stuff to talk about right now regarding the Church’s response to Immigrants and Refugees, as well as a Christianity’s response to the Black Lives Matter movement. Maybe I can even find some time for some Bathroom Humor. If you see someone posting something about the Supreme Court not being able to make laws, about “Judicial Overreach,” or about fear of the SCOTUS making it illegal to be a Christian, feel free to leave this post as a comment on Facebook. Or as a reply on Twitter. Thank again for reading!