Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy

In a recent town hall meeting where citizens had the opportunity to pose questions to Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, he basically compared the judiciary in modern America with that of Nazi Germany.

Kennedy, the swing vote in the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in June to create “same-sex marriage,” was asked about Kentucky county Clerk Kim Davis, who was jailed for nearly a week by U.S. District Judge David Bunning after the Supreme Court’s marriage ruling when she refused Bunning’s order to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couple in violation of her faith.

At the meeting, a young man took the microphone and asked the following of Kennedy:

You claim new insights into the nature of marriage require states to issue marriage licenses in accord with this alternative version of marriage. And I can understand a similar case, probably more attractive to those of us who think that rational norms guide the exercise of sexual autonomy like they do economic autonomy, that would be that new insights into the nature of human life require states to take steps to stop abortions.

My question would be, in either of these cases, would you say that there are any state or federal officials with authority to act according to her own judgment of the truth of new insights or of the soundness of the court’s constitutional interpretation, or would it be illegal for any federal official or state official to act according to the old understanding of life and the Constitution that she still judges to be the truth of the matter?

Justice Kennedy replied:

If I could rephrase it in a fair way, what is the duty of a public official if he or she cannot in good conscience, and consistent with their own personal and religious beliefs, enforce a law they think is morally corrupt?

How many judges do you think resigned in the Third Reich? Three. Great respect, it seems to me, has to be given to people who resign rather than do something they think is morally wrong, in order to make a point. However, the rule of law is that, as a public official and performing your legal duties, you are bound to enforce the law. It’s difficult sometimes to see whether or not what you’re doing is transgressing your own personal philosophies – this requires considerable introspection. It’s a fair question that officials can and should ask themselves. But certainly in an offhand comment, it would be difficult for me to say that people are free to ignore a decision of the Supreme Court. Lincoln went through this in the Dred Scott case. These are difficult moral questions.

On his Facebook page, Ted Cruz posted the video and made the following observation:

When a Supreme Court justice compares his own lawless rulings to the draconian oppression of the Nazis – and says that Christians should resign from public office if they will not surrender to his imperious decrees – that really says it all. Those are his words, not mine. Justice Kennedy is holding up the Nazis as exemplars for the current Supreme Court.

I, for one, would rather stand with heroes like Bonhoeffer, than the tyrants who inflicted unspeakable evil. And the persecution of Christians – in Iran, China, or America – is simply wrong.

As WND reported, Justice Kennedy would resign if he followed his own instructions to others, according to Liberty Counsel, the national religious-rights law firm representing Davis.

In a prepared statement, Liberty Counsel said the message was clear: “Government officials who disagree with him and his four other colleagues regarding their newly invented and groundless marriage opinion ought to resign.”

However, the real question, the organization said, should be, “What is the law and what happens when justices violate their oath to interpret the Constitution?”

A WND request for comment from Kennedy did not generate a response.

Mat Staver, the chairman of Liberty Counsel, said unjust laws “should be resisted.”

“Religious freedom and conscience should be protected. Justices or judges who disregard the Constitution and impose their own will should resign,” he said.

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