Justice Anthony Kennedy On Kim Davis: “Great Respect Should Be Given To People Who Resign”
Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy implied on Thursday, during a question-and-answer session following a speech at Harvard Law School, that Kim Davis might have done better to resign from her position as Rowan County Court Clerk than to keep her post but act in defiance of the Supreme Court’s ruling in support of same-sex marriage.
“How many judges do you think resigned from the Third Reich?” He asked the audience. “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.”
He said that he understands how hard it is to consistently perform your duties while also consistently assessing your personal beliefs. “It’s difficult, sometimes, to see whether or not what you’re doing is transgressing your own personal philosophy. It requires considerable introspection. It’s a fair question that officials can and should ask themselves.”
That being said, though, Justice Kennedy added that “It would be difficult for me to say that people are free to ignore a decision of the Supreme Court.”
That being said, Davis is also free to use the legal system to see if there can be a compromise for public officials whose personal and religious beliefs are in conflict with their job duties or whether that would not be in the public interest. Which, of course, is precisely what her lawyers say she’s attempting to do, now. Rather than reflecting on what Davis could have done, it might be more interesting to see what comes of her request for the particular kind of religious freedom she’s asking for.
You can watch Kennedy’s full speech and Q&A at Harvard in the video above – the exchange about Davis begins at around the 51 minute mark.
Send me a line at email@example.com.