Lawyers for Rowan County, Kentucky, Clerk Kim Davis are asking a district judge to halt the expansion of his marriage-license order to “the entire world.”
Liberty Counsel said Friday that Judge David Bunning’s order to Davis to issue marriage licenses, including to same-sex couples in violation of her Christian faith, cannot, without proper notice and briefing, be expanded to cover the entire world.”
Bunning ordered Davis to jail last week for contempt of court then released her six days later after her deputies complied and issued licenses without Davis’ name on them.
Mat Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel, said Bunning’s original order is now moot, because the four same-sex couples who brought the case have received the licenses they sought.
Liberty filed a motion for an emergency stay with the 6th Circuit because Bunning, who previously has ruled in favor of partial birth abortion and homosexual clubs for high schoolers, “without notice, expanded the injunction against Kim Davis while it was already on appeal.”
The motion argues that the district judge can’t change the substance of such orders without notice because of due process, Liberty Counsel explained.
Bunning “impermissibly broadened it to cover anyone in the world who seeks a license for same-sex marriage,” the legal team said.
Also, Liberty Counsel said that once the injunction was appealed by Kim Davis to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, Bunning “had no jurisdiction over it, and thus no authority, to expand the injunction.”
“The original injunction ordering Kim Davis to issue marriage licenses should be moot because the plaintiffs who sought such licenses received them last Friday after Judge Bunning told the deputy clerks he summoned to court that they must issue the licenses or be sent to jail.”
The legal filing explains that when the injunction was announced by the judge, Davis filed an immediate notice of appeal, “depriving the district court of jurisdiction to alter or expand the injunction’s scope.”
However, Bunning “did just that, without fair notice or hearing, by entering a new injunction that materially expanded the original injunction while it was already on appeal.”
“The district court’s expanded injunction lays waste to well-established principles of jurisdiction and due process in the federal court system while an appeal is pending.”
Bunning also has installed himself in “a supervisory role over the operations of the Rowan County, Kentucky, clerk’s office,” they argue.
The judge previously ignored standard procedures, the brief said, when he held a hearing “without having obtained jurisdiction over Davis through service of process.”
The filing notes that Bunning had granted the same-sex duos “procedural preferences” throughout the case.
The judge is being vilified on blogs. Setting the Record Straight commented: “Bunning … is an out of touch Catholic, who has turned his back on his faith with his statement that the court’s authority supersedes natural law, God’s law. … Actually the sovereignty of natural law over man-made authority is a founding principle of our constitutional republic. These United States separated from the British monarchy because we were entitled to by ‘the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God,’ and not subservient to the alleged divine right of kings.”
The case is unlikely to be resolved soon.
WND columnist Pat Buchanan noted Davis has resisted the imposition of “same-sex marriage” across the country.
“Good for her. We need more like her,” he wrote. “For behind her defiance are more authoritative sources than the five justices who gave us Obergefell: the Old and New Testaments, Natural Law, two millennia of Christian teaching and tradition, and the entire body of U.S. federal and state law up to Y2K.
“Moreover, Kentucky never enacted a law authorizing same-sex marriage. Nor did the Congress of the United States,” he pointed out.
He called it “a creation of a Supreme Court that has usurped the legislative power to impose a secularist anti-Christian ideology on a nation, much of which still rejects it, but has no recourse against it.
“A right to same-sex marriage was no more in the Constitution as written or amended than was a woman’s right to have an abortion,” Buchanan said.
“When Chief Justice Roger Taney declared slaves were property and could not become citizens, Harriet Tubman ignored his Dred Scott decision, defied the fugitive slave laws, and helped slaves escape from her native Maryland.”
He noted the case ultimately will undermine the Supreme Court itself, which created “same-sex marriage” in the Obergefell ruling in June.
“Once, the Supreme Court could rely upon a residual respect for its proceedings, grounded in a belief that ours is a good government whose actions, even if we disagree, are rooted in principle and merit respect. That reservoir of trust and good will is about gone.”
Davis was resting at home following her term in jail and is scheduled to return to her office on Monday. She was going through piles of letters supporters from across the country have sent her.
Staver confirmed during a rally for her this week that she would continue following her conscience.
“I am deeply moved by all those who prayed for me. All I can say is that I am amazed and very grateful,” Davis said in a statement released through Liberty Counsel.
“I am enjoying spending time with my husband, my family, and my three dogs. I have also been spending time reading boxes of letters expressing support and prayers from people around the country.”
Hers is the highest-profile case of resistance to the Supreme Court’s creation of a right to same-sex marriage, which was criticized by Chief Justice John Roberts as unconstitutional.
Attacks on Davis, however, have not stopped. The most recent was a diatribe unleashed by Fox News anchor Shephard Smith.
Smith cut into the press conference coverage of the release of Davis to rail against her, as well as those who supported her denial of marriage licenses to same-sex couples, calling it a “religious play” that has no business in government service.
He also compared Davis supporters to opponents of Islamic law, characterizing them as one and the same when it comes to ideology.
“They set this up as a religious play again,” Smith said, Mediaite reported. “This is the same crowd that says, ‘We don’t want Shariah law,’ don’t let them tell us what to do, keep their religion out of our lives and out of our government.’ Well, here we go again.”
Smith sniped at the Christian and her supporters, saying: “Haters are going to hate. We thought what this woman wanted was an accommodation, which they’ve granted her, something that worked for everybody. But it’s not what they want.”
The latest motion is one of several appeals for Davis now pending at the 6th Circuit. Davis, an elected official, cannot lose her job unless she loses a special election called by the governor or she is impeached by the state legislature.