That Sound You Hear is Me Gnashing My Teeth…

And Thomas Paine thought that his were the times that tried men’s souls….

Recently, the Oklahoma House has approved legislation purporting to protect ministers who refuse to conduct same-sex weddings from civil liability.  

Evidently, they don’t teach basic civics in Oklahoma. (As I have previously noted, they aren’t too keen on American history, either.) News flash, Oklahoma legislature! The Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment got there first! It already provides the religious liberty you want to “restore.” For the zillionth time: churches and their clergy are exempt from civil rights laws that conflict with their theology. They’re protected from the nefarious “gay agenda” by that Constitution you all pretend you’ve read.

It’s maddening enough that state legislators–including a not-insignificant number from Indiana–are clueless about the actual application of the religion clauses, but it is mind-boggling when a (presumably plausible) candidate for President of the United States exhibits abject ignorance of the most basic Constitutional principles.

Recently, Mike Huckabee spoke to a group of rightwing pastors about the pending Supreme Court case on same-sex marriage, and he began by repeating the same tired lie: if the Court rules for marriage equality, pastors will be sued or jailed for refusing to preside over same-sex nuptials. It’s hard to know whether Huckabee is really that uninformed, or whether his statement was just reflexive demagoguery of the sort he regularly delivered during his stint at Fox News.

What really set me off, however, was his follow-up to that bit of dishonest rabble-rousing:

Getting a decision from the court, it’s not tantamount to saying ‘well that settles it. It’s the law of the land.’ And when I hear people say that I just cringe and I’m thinking ‘How many people pass 9th grade civics?’ This is not that complicated. There are three branches of government, not one. We don’t like it if the executive branch overreaches and pretends that it can act in difference to the other two. And neither can we sit back and allow the court, one branch of government to overrule the other two. And so when a court rules that same sex marriage is okay, it doesn’t mean that the next day, marriage licenses should be issued for same sex couples. It simply means that if the legislature agrees with that court decision and the representatives of the people—the elected officials—if they then put that into legislation and it is signed and enforced by the executive branch, then you have same sex marriage. But until those other two branches act, what you have is a court opinion and nothing else.

I hate to tell you, Mike, but when the Supreme Court issues a decision, that does settle it. Short of a constitutional amendment, it’s over.

How can a man who was a Governor of a state, a man who has run for President of this country, who has debated legal and policy issues with knowledgable people, have so little grasp of the most basic operation and structure of the American legal system?

If Huckabee really does know better– if he is just counting on the ignorance of his audience–the fact that he can make such statements secure in the knowledge that no one listening will know enough to challenge him is even more depressing.

Evidently, no one ever took 9th grade civics.


  1. I admire your ability to even read or watch whatever Huckabee has to say. He’s another clown in the clown car that the GOP has given a voice to. Tell it Professor!

  2. One has to believe the Huckabees of the GOP really do understand how governments work but have no problem distorting facts or just lying to enrage and engage some voters. And it works well. They seem to be able to readily create a solution in search of a problem and have a significant number of voters believe the lie – e.g. voter fraud in Indiana.

  3. It seems that some extremists, who also profess to be Christians, and are trying to pander to those who choose entertainment over journalism for their current events, choose for propaganda that there is a danger that their Faith is at risk of being replaced by a minority sexuality.

    IMO the only thing relevant to normal life about that bizarre circus act is that it’s evidence of the existence of deviant cultures in our democracy. Candidacy based on celebrity working fear based Faith (a seeming oxymoron).

    We can simply vote it powerless. It’s unworthy of anyone’s attention. It’s cheap news to be used as filler by pseudo journalists.

    There is nothing to see here please keep moving.

  4. daleb is right. There’s plenty to worry about in Mike Huckabee. As a matter of fact, the combination of the Huckabee and Tea Party forces are behind the election of Jacksonville’s new Mayor. The election is three weeks off. At this point Lenny Curry can’t be beat.

    Jacksonville will be America’s first 100% theocratic city. It will be a prototype city that can be a model, which can swiftly move throughout the South and Midwest. As a matter of fact, It’s the only city with a population over 400,000 that doesn’t have a HRO for the LGBT community.

    Extremism is vitally important. It’s the politics of Fear. Fear is keeping all opposition at bay. There hasn’t been freedom of speech or freedom of the press involving important issues in North Florida for at least a generation.

  5. Huckbee and the other Republicans are engaging in a scorched earth campaign. The idea of a scorched earth campaign is for the retreating army to destroy any assets and impede the advancing enemy. The retreating army may destroy items such as: roads, railways, villages, towns, factories, crops, etc.

    The Bible Thumpers are applying this tactic through the states, to impede Gay Rights, Civil Rights or Woman’s Rights.

  6. “News flash, Oklahoma legislature! The Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment got there first!”

    News flash! When people can’t trust the federal government, they go their own way and view their own laws as superior to federal laws.

    Forcing modern, exotic, and unwelcome lifestyles on people may fracture the bond of the Union.

  7. “I hate to tell you, Mike, but when the Supreme Court issues a decision, that does settle it. Short of a constitutional amendment, it’s over.”

    Dead wrong, Sheila. The Supreme Court is just a political body, nothing more. Their “opinions” are respected as just that, nothing more. The Supreme Court is not the legislature or the executive.

    Good for Huckabee. He’s absolutely right. Five people from the East Coast who do not hold real jobs and are unelected do not get to make laws for the country.

  8. “if he is just counting on the ignorance of his audience–the fact that he can make such statements secure in the knowledge that no one listening will know enough to challenge him is even more depressing”

    The extreme right is absolutely counting on this!

    And Gopper – you obviously drink the far right’s koolaid.

  9. I am a pastor. And as a former pastor Mike Huckabee should know that a pastor is never forced to do any wedding by anyone. If I am asked to marry a gay couple I will do so willingly: not because someone says I have to. We are allowed to conduct weddings. We do not have to.

  10. Gopper if the Executive tries to enforce a law declared unconstitutional by the highest court, lower courts are certainly not going to overturn the ruling.

    Please read the Constitution. It’s an enlightening experience.

  11. Also Gopper, if you don’t trust our government which other one in the world today would you trust more?

  12. What the fool is trying to articulate is that if a majority doesn’t agree with the Court’s interpretation of the existing law, they can introduce legislation to change it. What he’s SAYING is that he’s just an old country boy with no learning just like you folks out in voter land, nyuk nyuk.

  13. And President Obama made one hilarious joke at the well-earned expense of the state of Indiana regarding RFRA “protecting” LGBTs and/or public businesses, same-sex relationships…married and unmarried…and pizza. None of which is referred to in the Constitution but state and federal level legislatures are using valuable time and tax dollars fighting over these issues. They each have their own version of the Bible, Constitution and all Amendments. How much lower do we have to sink before the light dawns; there are important issues to deal with. If ministers refuse to perform marriage ceremonies; move on to the next one on the long, long list available IF you are allowed to marry within your home state. We have children to educate, prospecive victims to be protected by – and from – public safety officers, collapsing infrastructure, wars to end and new wars to avoid, suffocating pollution to cleanse our air of, health care to provide to all Americans, millions of illegal immigrants waiting for this country to resolve years of problems, along with providing LGBTs with civil and human rights, and the beat goes on. All the wailing and gnashing of teeth will not stop Huckabee and that entire herd of Republicans from detracting and distracting us from life and death issues. I believe Gopper (whichever aka he/she uses) is a shill; luring us into debates with him/her and Pete offered him/her the solution to read the Constitution. It has been obvious since all of the Goppers joined our ranks that none of them understand the Constitution or the Amendments. Sigh; sometimes I get so tired:(

  14. Gopper: Glad Rosa parks didn’t accept your argument. If YOU would just try applying it another context, other than gay rights, you might connect those dots.

  15. Same sex marriage: Is the issue about sodomy? Don’t license same sex marriage and thereby prevent the sin of sodomy? What planet are you from? Sodomy as we know it is performed in all sorts of ways and by all sorts of people including husbands and wives in conventional marriages.

    Preachers know, or should know, one interpretation of the sin of Sodom involves the denial of hospitality. From whence comes the smut?

    Having fantasies, Mike et al?

  16. I believe that the GOP (Grand Oligarchy Plot) is now trying to back away from the doomsday scenario; that being the evisceration of Obamacare. That bus that they’ve chased so long is one that they didn’t want to catch because it will fully reveal their intentions to pander rather than progress.

  17. These people all need high school civics or social studies books. Either they slept through those classes and never cracked open their books or they never had any exposure to the American system of governance at any time in their lives until they were put in the position of actually governing. I just wish that I had the money to send them all current editions of those books so maybe, finally , they might have an inkling of how things are supposed to work since they obviously don’t or they know and want to freelance outside the Constitution since they think they can.

    Oh, and by the way Gopper, when you keyed “When people can’t trust the federal government, they go their own way and view their own laws as superior to federal laws.” you y inadvertently illustrated the cause of most of the governance problems we currently have. Those local laws that you feel are so superior to those drawn up at the Federal level are drawn up by those same people that skipped their civics lessons, like those that made the whole State of Indiana a laughing stock just a few weeks ago.

    Nice try but no sale.

  18. Tom; you must admit that President Obama’s Joe Biden/Indiana/pizza joke put this issue in the ridiclous perspective it deserves. I didn’t see it myself; my old high school friend who lives in California watched and relayed the joke to me. How much time and money will Pence spend trying to save what he believed was his positive reputation before returning to his desk to do the work he was elected to do?

  19. The great irony here is that those who are claiming they are so confident in their Civics knowledge are dead wrong.

    The Supreme Court is not the supreme legislative power. It is not superior to the other two branches of government. The Supreme Court cannot make law. The Supreme Court was never even granted the judicial review it loves to use.

    Review the Constitution. Most of what the Supreme Court does has no authorization in the document.

    If the Supreme Court tries to make gay marriage legal in Oklahoma or Alabama, and those states overrule the Supreme Court, what does the Supreme Court think it can do about it?

    Daleb, it has never worked, and it will never work, to try to force race and sexual preference to be given equal legal stature.

    Democrats, get off this issue and find something that won’t divide the country.

  20. Gopper: The United States Supreme Court does not “make” law in the sense that a legislative body does. But it DOES get to decide the application of the Constitution and laws, a power called “judicial review” that it has expressly exercised since 1803, when the case of Marbury v Madison was decided ( Had you studied any history, you would know this. Or perhaps you are one of those who think that the Constitution itself is illegitimate and that only citizens are sovereign? Sorry, no sane person would buy into that sort of lawlessness.

  21. Greg, evidently my post sailed right over your head.

    Find me judicial review in the Constitution.

    “The question whether the judges are invested with exclusive authority to decide on the constitutionality of a law has been heretofore a subject of consideration with me in the exercise of official duties. Certainly there is not a word in the Constitution which has given that power to them more than to the Executive or Legislative branches.” –Thomas Jefferson to W. H. Torrance, 1815. ME 14:303

    “The Constitution… meant that its coordinate branches should be checks on each other. But the opinion which gives to the judges the right to decide what laws are constitutional and what not, not only for themselves in their own sphere of action but for the Legislature and Executive also in their spheres, would make the Judiciary a despotic branch.” –Thomas Jefferson to Abigail Adams, 1804. ME 11:51

    Pity you never learned Civics, Greg.

  22. Gopper. You are deliberately and willfully ignorant. Are you an attorney or have any expertise to allow you to have such a perverse idea of what the Constitution, the Congress, the Supreme Court of the United States have done and are required to do? If I follow your twisted logic, I can choose to Ignore the legal decisions of any court if it disagreed with my own personal interpretation of the basis for the decision. So I should leave race and sexual relationships out because they divide the country? Since when do you get to decide what is divisive?

  23. JD, please.

    The General Manager isn’t “ignorant” when he keeps a kid with low talent in the minors. You need more practice…a lot.

    I’m reading these posts and thinking “the only way these people are this wrong is that they want reality to be something it isn’t.” And you’re doing it on several issues.

    Before you again misstate the Constitution, refer to Art. 3, Sec. 2.

    “…In all the other cases before mentioned, the Supreme Court shall have appellate jurisdiction, both as to law and fact, with such exceptions, and under such regulations as the Congress shall make.”

    Congress is clearly superior to the Supreme Court, and can define and delimit everything the Supreme Court does.

    As for their “judicial power,” when was the last time you saw the Supreme Court take fact testimony and decide matters of fact, i.e., conduct a trial, though clearly permitted to do so by the Constitution?

    “So I should leave race and sexual relationships out because they divide the country?”

    No, you should leave race out because you’re profaning it by trying to claim that you’re entitled to its protections. It is deeply shameful that the homosexual activists are trying to claim analogy to race.

    You should leave homosexuality out because that issue is dividing the country.

  24. Yes JoAnn, I thought his remarks were spot on and hilarious. They were much more fun to pay attention to than this conversation which is reminding me more and more of those that appear on Facebook all the time. I was sort of hoping that the discourse in relation to this blog was going to be different than that.

    By the way, just as an FYI – – Nonprofit Christian religious ministry dedicated to protecting people and families from extortion, persecution, exploitation,socialism, divorce, crime, and sin. Advocate personal liberty, personal responsibility, constitutional and SMALL and accountable government, sovereignty, and religious faith.

    All of this is right off their homepage.

    Obviously the most authoritative and definitive source on just about anything anywhere in America! We should all bookmark this site right away so that we’re all in the know too.

  25. OK, that’s it. Name-calling is out of bounds on this blog, and grounds for being blocked. Respectful argumentation and disagreement is fine, but ad hominem attacks are not.

  26. “He’s another clown in the clown car”

    “have no problem distorting facts or just lying”

    “It seems that some extremists, who also profess to be Christians”

    “Extremism is vitally important. It’s the politics of Fear.”

    “The Bible Thumpers are applying this tactic”

    “And Gopper – you obviously drink the far right’s koolaid.”

    “What the fool is trying to articulate”

    “I believe Gopper (whichever aka he/she uses) is a shill”

    “Those local laws that you feel are so superior to those drawn up at the Federal level are drawn up by those same people that skipped their civics lessons”

    “Had you studied any history, you would know this.”

    “Sorry, no sane person”

    “Gopper. You are deliberately and willfully ignorant.”

    ” I was sort of hoping that the discourse in relation to this blog was going to be different than that.”

    Sheila, your class has been unruly and uncivil, all day long.

  27. Gopper: Jefferson had no role in the writing of the Constitution. But some from the Constitutional Convention were in the first Congress, which wrote the Judiciary Act of 1789, which specifically authorized judicial review as part of the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction. I refer you specifically to Section 25 of that Act.

    Those people WERE the Founders, and they obviously did not agree with you. And it is an argument settled more than 2 centuries ago. Judicial Review is an essential role of our system of checks and balances. Without it, both the legislative and executive branches could do whatever they wished, and the judiciary would play an advisory role only. I further put it to you, that however messy the process, the judiciary plays an essential role in preserving individual freedom against government intrusion.

    Without a strong judiciary, with the power of judicial review, we risk tyranny.

  28. PS to Gopper: As to your claim that I “never learned Civics”, I was the top student in my high school government class; an attendee at Hoosier Boys State (which is all about “civics”), have a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science with a minor in history; a law degree; and I suspect I may be one of the few who comment on here who is actually admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the United States. So yeah, I know a little bit about “Civics”.

  29. Is there a book, “Civics For Dummies” available? Seriously; what I do not know outweighs what I do know – or think I know. This has certainly been a wild day on the blog; lots of good stuff outweighing the bad stuff. Maybe we are all getting tired of having to work so hard to find facts scrambled with fiction and BS…NOT on this blog but in the media. Easy to lose the issue at hand when you have to dig through what amounts to looking through a hoarder’s home for one specifit item. As for myself; I can’t wait to see what Sheila has in store for us tomorrow…don’t know how she does it on a daily basis. Of course the current politicians and the times we are living in provide grist for the mill. Thanks for reining us all in, Sheila. Good night and good luck

  30. Greg, you mistakenly assume that those degrees impress me. The History minor comes closest. Prove your worth. Your shifting ground from the Constitution to the Judiciary Act to public policy to isn’t terribly impressive and belies a profound weakness in your argument.

    For all the power alleged to the 1789 Judiciary Act, you fail to remind your reader that the Constitution is not amended by statute. Disturbingly, you cite to the 1789 Act as providing for judicial review, when, in fact, Marshall used judicial review in Marbury to strike down part of the 1789 Act as increasing the power of the court beyond the limits described in the Constitution.

    Marshall did not use the same Act to give him jurisdiction to invalidate the very act that empowered him. Rather, Marshall found judicial review already in the courtroom.

    He just gave judicial review to himself.

    “It is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is.”

    You say

    “Without a strong judiciary, with the power of judicial review, we risk tyranny.”

    This is just unsupported nonsense. It’s equally permissible to say “With a strong judiciary, with the power of judicial review, we risk tyranny.”

    Marbury is a ridiculous case, transparently using a minor administrative case to shoehorn his agenda into practice, certainly not law. You merely like what Marbury has allowed to court to do, but that ain’t Baseball, sonny.

  31. Greg:

    Here’s a basic Rule for Adults:

    1. Never, ever, speak about anything that occurred in high school.

    College is the minimum ante for adult talk.

  32. Gopper; regarding your basic Rule for Adults, you fall far short of the mark – or the requirement to speak as an adult. Yesterday was my 78th birthday, that isn’t the primary criteria to qualify me as an adult; what I have done with those 78 years is MY qualification. Even being a high school dropout with a GED I am qualified; intelligence, experience, working more than 20 years in City/County government – the first year under Mayor Richard Lugar, 16 of those years under the incredible Mayor Bill Hudnut and the 2 years, 3 months and 11 days working in the destructive Goldsmith administration. Having 5 children, 13 grandchildren and 9 great grandchildren plus the deaths of 2 of my sons and 1 grandaughter has provided experience in the changing times throughout those administrations. Living over one year in Las Vegas, Nevada and 7 years in Port Richey, Florida gave me additional experience and education in how other cities operated. Experience adds knowledge and is the greatest educator…both high school and college add qualifications to become an adult but…college is not the minimum ante to speak as an adult. You discredit me and many thousands of others with that condescending comment; you do not raise yourself above us if that was your intention.

  33. Gopper; I understand where you’re coming from. You’re very clear in your speaking. However, being only a few month younger than Joann, I believe she has pointed out a major flaw in your thinking.

    For one thing, you appear not to have learned very much from the results of the Civil War.

    What are your feelings about the Bill of Rights? Is it worthless? Or, is our only alternative another Race War?

  34. The Left is off in the wilderness with this extreme social modification, and it’s going to make their party anathema to millions of voters.

    Here is an example of the voice we need to see from the Left:

    Or Reforms or Greens, if need be. If the left isn’t going to embrace this message, then I suppose the country will pull a Ralph Nader and send Jeb to the White House.

    If the Republicans have become the corporate party, then the alternative party needs to be populist to ensure the country’s wealth is more equally distributed. This is the greatest issue of the day.

    With every passing day that the Democrats utterly ignore populism, it becomes clearer that they’re just another variant of the corporate party.

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