By now, you should know about the heroic clerk Kim Davis in Kentucky who is one of the few elected officials in our nation who is actually obeying the rule of law…and was thrown in jail for adhering to the law. In case you’re confused about why I just said what I did about her (because people don’t go to jail for obeying the law in a just nation, right?), allow me to explain.
In the United States, we are, to paraphrase John Adams, a nation governed by the rule of law and not a nation governed by the opinion of men in power…at least, we used to not be.
According to the way the United States was designed to operate (and the rule of law has not changed this design), the U.S. Constitution is the supreme civil authority of our nation. The president is not the supreme authority, the congress is not the supreme authority, and the judiciary is not the supreme authority. Recall that ALL elected officials take an oath, not to themselves, but to the U.S. Constitution, to support and defend it. Why? Because the U.S. Constitution is the supreme civil authority in our nation (and as the Declaration of Independence points out, even the Constitution is subject to a higher legal authority: Natural Law).
Among other things, the Constitution establishes the powers delegated to the federal government, and these are enumerated in Article 1 Section 8. Nowhere in Article 1 Section 8 (or anywhere else in the Constitution) is the federal government empowered to redefine marriage from how it has been understood by every civilization throughout history (that it takes a man and a woman to form a marriage).
There is also a separation of powers between the federal government and the state governments. The U.S. Constitution and the federal government was, after all, a creation of the states, and not the other way around. The states gave the federal government a few specific powers in Article 1 Section 8, and kept the rest for themselves. As “Father of the Constitution” James Madison stated in Federalist No. 45:
The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government, are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected.
The Constitution also establishes clear lines of authority and responsibility among the three branches of government. The legislative branch is the ONLY branch of government that has the authority to create laws. The executive branch is empowered to carry out the laws created by the legislative branch; it cannot create laws, and it cannot legally ignore duly established laws. The judicial branch is empowered to adjudicate according to those duly created laws; it cannot create laws or ignore laws, it can only judge whether someone or something has acted in contradiction to those laws, including the highest law, the U.S. Constitution.
Additionally, it should be noted that when the court exercises its authority to judge according to established law, it is not allowed to “interpret” things in law that do not exist.
James Wilson, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, one of the architects of the U.S. Constitution, and one of the original Supreme Court justices appointed by President George Washington, observed:
The first and governing maxim in the interpretation of a statute is to discover the meaning of those who made it.
As one of this nation’s first and most accomplished Supreme Court justices, Joseph Story, noted concerning the meaning of law:
The first and fundamental rule in the interpretation of all documents is to construe them according to the sense of the terms and the intentions of the parties.
The constitution of the United States is to receive a reasonable interpretation of its language, and its powers, keeping in view the objects and purposes, for which those powers were conferred.
Or as Thomas Jefferson put it:
Laws are made for men of ordinary understanding, and should, therefore, be construed by the ordinary rules of common sense. Their meaning is not to be sought for in metaphysical subtleties, which may make anything mean everything or nothing, at pleasure.
In other words, if someone is truly interested in adhering to the law as it was written and intended, they will read it with its straightforward meaning and intent in mind, and not seek wild “interpretation” by which they can substitute their opinion for actual law. Such “interpretation” is nothing more than lawless contempt for the law, as I’m sure Samuel Adams would concur:
How strangely will the Tools of a Tyrant pervert the plain Meaning of Words!
In almost all states, including Kentucky, the only existing law concerning the definition of marriage affirms what every civilization throughout human history has instinctively understood: that marriage can only be formed by a man and a woman. The law is extremely clear on this.
Understanding these fundamental truths, if the Supreme Court rules in any manner contrary to existing law, or assumes authority not granted to it by the U.S. Constitution (and if you check Article 1 Section 8 which lists the enumerated powers of the federal government, there is no authority there for the federal government to attempt to redefine marriage, nor does Article 3 grant the Supreme Court or any other court the authority to make law), then any opinion it renders is just that: an opinion. It has no legal authority. It is not binding on anyone. In fact, it is unconstitutional and illegal and warrants, at a minimum, the impeachment of any judge or other government official who participates in such illegal acts.
So it should be clear that, in refusing to go along with the Supreme Court’s unconstitutional and illegal edict promoting counterfeit marriage, Kim Davis is one of the few elected officials in this entire nation who is actually doing her job. Unlike the five lawless justices who comprised a majority in the Obergefell v. Hodges opinion, and unlike every other official that has bowed down to this illegal edict and collaborated with it, Kim Davis is actually keeping her oath to obey the U.S. Constitution and the laws of Kentucky.
While there are some people across America who understand this, I have been completely appalled in the past few days to have witnessed not just Godless Leftists spouting dangerous error, but people who call themselves conservatives, people who call themselves Christians–PEOPLE WHO SHOULD KNOW BETTER!
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.