Tuesday, September 22, 2015

A "stamp of animus"? Plaintiffs in Miller v. Davis ask court to order Deputy Clerks to issue unadulterated marriage licenses //Balkinization

Balkinization: A "stamp of animus"? Plaintiffs in <i>Miller v. Davis</i> ask court to order Deputy Clerks to issue unadulterated marriage licenses

by Marty Lederman

The plaintiffs in the Kim Davis case have now made a motion to Judge Bunning to require the Deputy Clerks in Rowan County to go back to issuing marriage licenses in the form that Deputy Clerk Mason was issuing while Clerk Kim Davis was in federal custody--rather than the radically adulterated form that Davis directed Mason to issue once she returned to work. (For much more on the machinations that led to this motion, and the differences between the two marriage license forms, see my post from Saturday.)

The plaintiffs are also asking the judge to require the Deputy Clerks to reissue, in proper (i.e., pre-Sept. 14) form, any licenses that they issued over the past week, and to specifically order Kim Davis not to interfere with the Deputies' issuance of licenses. For the time being they are not asking the judge to hold Davis in contempt of his orders; but they are asking the judge to put Davis on notice that any violation of the new order--that is, any interference on her part--"will result in civil sanctions, including but not limited to (a) the placement of the Rowan County Clerk’s Office into a receivership for the limited purposes of issuing marriage licenses, and (b) the imposition of civil monetary fines as appropriate and necessary to coerce Davis’ compliance with this Court’s Order."

What is the ground for plaintiffs' complaint about the Davis-prescribed, adulterated form of marriage licenses? They do not invoke the Fourteenth Amendment in so many words but, as I read it, they are alleging that the use of the altered forms violates their rights under the Fourteenth Amendment in two respects:

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