It’s Called the Rule of Law….

Indiana’s Governor isn’t the only government official living in an alternate universe. Look, for example, at Alabama’s “Judge” Roy Moore, who has also been in the news of late.

It’s one thing when students who don’t understand the difference between a statute and a constitution complain that their preferred policies should be the law of the land. It’s regrettable–albeit humorous–when Y’all Qaida cowboys communicate their grievances (and inadvertently, their ignorance) by taking over a bird sanctuary. But we expect lawyers— and especially Judges—to understand how the American legal system works.

They don’t have to agree with every Supreme Court decision. They can stamp their feet and insist—as Governor Pence did when he was Congressman Pence—that Marbury versus Madison was wrongly decided, and that every statute struck down by the Supreme Court since 1803 was an act of judicial usurpation.

But we do expect them to obey the decisions of the highest court in the land.

For those of you who’ve been vacationing on the moon, Moore—who has long been a religious zealot with delusions of grandeur—is the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, a position he regained after being removed for defying federal law and several court orders by erecting a five-ton replica of the Ten Commandments at the door to the Alabama courthouse. Most recently,

Judge Moore issued an administrative order declaring that “Alabama probate judges have a ministerial duty not to issue any marriage licenses” to same-sex couples. The Supreme Court’s June Obergefell decision legalizing same-sex marriage involved a case from a different federal circuit, so it does not apply in Alabama, Moore argues. Legal experts say that is a patently wrong interpretation of American law.

Patently wrong indeed! Law students who took such a position would never pass a bar exam.

Read my lips, “Judge.” If you don’t like gay people, fine. Don’t invite them over for dinner. If you disapprove of same-sex marriage, don’t have one. If your version of God hates homosexuals, feel free to pray for their descent into the fiery pits (or whatever hell you people believe in).

But no matter how fervent your belief, no matter how wedded you are to your animus, you don’t get to overrule the Supreme Court. If you are incapable of following and applying the law, you need to be impeached or otherwise removed from a position that allows you to affect other people.

I think it was Andy Warhol who said everyone was entitled to 15 minutes of fame. Don’t look now, Judge, but your 15 minutes are up—and it won’t be long, in historical terms, until those who agree with you join you in that great dustbin of history.


  1. Unfortunately, we live in the Alabama of the midwest that voted Pence into office and we all suffer for it.

    Sheila, when a State Supreme Court judge defies a federal law is there something that the Feds can do to remove him or punish him? I don’t have a legal background and therefore don’t understand how a state judge can get away with defying federal law.

  2. Thanks, Marv.

    Now that the gov has drawn the line, his dismal speech will serve to mobilize all of his enemies. My wife has told me that I would be a lousy politician, but I would be Augustus Ceasar compared to Pence. If this guy is a leader, it’s into the toilet. I can’t imagine a worse strategy for a November victory. Are the Democrats paying his political consultant?

  3. Stuart- Are the Democrats paying his political consultant? Probably not but the Establishment Democrats want John Gregg. The Indiana Democrat Party would have to struggle to find someone more uninspiring than Gregg.

    Pence is truly the epitome of an empty suit, but John Gregg is hanging up next to him.

  4. I don’t know in which area that Roy Moore is most deficient, in his understanding of scripture or his understanding of the law. I think his number one authority is Roy Moore.

  5. In places like MA and CT and RI, we really find it odd to hear about elected judges. How can you choose a judge who doesn’t know even the basics? Is every decision to be made on a personal whim, and then later reversed when an actual lawyer sees the opinion?

    Of course there are examples of appointed judges who misbehave, but since every single judge I know is a conservative democrat or a liberal republican (praise god the northeast is a place of sanity) for the moment we’re safe.

  6. Marv – just wanted to let you know that I am going to wait until all pages are online and then I will read it in one session. Didn’t want you to think that I’m not interested.

  7. As with my comments yesterday about Pence, it is not the actions of this one man that are a concern , it is the large number of followers he has. I often use the phrase “sick society” as a way to describe events and reactions to them in the country today. It is no longer a glib remark but seems to have a real basis. There really are large groups of people who have turned off their independent thinking in order to belong to a group that gives them a self view of elitism. The group allows some charismatic leader to tell them what to think and how to act. As long as they go with the group they maintain a level of self righteousness, importance, and belonging. If the leader’s own ego gets out of control and his words and actions are irrational, his followers begin acting out in irrational and sick ways. Among other things they attack targeted groups, and vote against their own best interests. The group itself has an ego and it is then as “sick” as the charismatic leader. This, I believe, is what is happening in our country and in particular in Wisconsin, Indiana, Florida, Texas and Alabama.

  8. Democracy is designed as the only system that allows both governance and freedom by allowing the governed to choose the government. It accepts that a part of the populous is cognitively incapable of informed decision making but assumes them to be a minority.

    What if they’re not?

    Freedom dies.

    That’s one possible outlook of America’s future if all of the cowboys, the Oregon species, the NRA species, the KKK species, the Rev Jones species, the aristocracy species become an effective alliance. So far what’s saved us from that ignominious end is that our enemies are congenitally incapable of collaboration.

    So, here we are, on the brink of rule by ignorance.

    Let’s not sacrifice our children’s freedom to our apathy.

  9. Louie, I agree completely with your comment about Gregg. Surely he won’t be as bad as Pence. I hope.

  10. I agree whole heartedly with Theresa with the exception of the sentence I copied and pasted below.

    “There really are large groups of people who have turned off their independent thinking in order to belong to a group that gives them a self view of elitism.”

    From those in my family and long time friends who were, are and always will be staunch Republicans, they have never had “independent thinking”. They are simply Republicans; believing they are being loyal to the elite political party with no inking that today’s Republicans are yesteryear’s Democrats.

    As for “law of the land” and Pence, et al; I will refer to the 1st Amendment section “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;…” The GOP has managed to take a circuitous route, gone around Robin Hood’s barn, come in through the back door…take your pick of wording…and let religion into government, spewed it back at us in the form of laws governing much to do with the most private parts of our lives. Hobby Lobby and RFRA are but examples of controlling our decisions regarding birth control, health care decisions and who we are allowed to love. The shame of recent publicity regarding Indiana is deepening and becoming more public as we make the national news regarding our bigotry and “lax gun control” referred to by President Obama. We can go no higher to seek the eyes and ears of the public in all forms of media than the President of the United States pointing his finger at us.

    I regret I am still not living elsewhere; doubt I would mention to anyone “I am from Indiana”!

  11. JoAnn: When someone asks me where I’m from I tell them I grew up about 90 miles from Chicago, not mentioning Indiana if I can help it.

  12. JoAnn, I got quite a chuckle when I first read your line about the “self view of elitism”. Then I realized that as long as liberals see conservatives as mind-numbed robots and conservatives see liberals exactly the same way, no one is going to learn anything from anyone. Elections become a function of who can gather the most mind-numbed robots. The amazing thing to me is how both sides can be so certain that their side is going to win and we end up with divisiveness and almost nothing else. Conservatives were certain that a veteran war hero could beat an upstart with the worst voting record in the senate. And then liberals were certain that the freight train would just keep rolling in 2010. Back to conservatives being certain that at last there would be vindication in 2012. All the while, next to nothing accomplished (other than healthcare “reform” that successfully makes the discord even worse). Most in here seem certain that anyone but Pence here and Clinton nationally will solve the problems. It seems you’re certainty, just like mine, is only reality about half the time.

  13. Ken, the implication of your post is that there is no evidence; reality is beyond discovery. I don’t know why you believe that. News is harder to get now than it used to be because now it’s buried in a mountain of opinion but mining it is not impossible. It just takes a little time and a mind open to evidence and not in search of confining opinions.

  14. I don’t know…gerrymandering created a GOP victory despite the Dems getting more votes so I think your historic win isn’t the reality you’re looking for. Sorry. Ken.

  15. Old-guard Democrats and old-guard Republicans are realizing that prior campaign protocols and strategies are not working during this election cycle; hence, the time-honored middlemen during a campaign are being ignored. The middlemen include the entrenched ideologies of both the GOP and the Democrat Party.

    People are angry. Democrats are angry as per Sanders’ surprisingly large following, and Republicans are angry as per Trump’s massive following. Voters don’t want someone who feels their pain; they want someone to mirror their mood. Woe to the candidate taking counsel/advice from the old-guard of either party.

  16. Children learn booked knowledge with schoolbooks usually, and cannot be expected to know what they have not read as regards a law and a statute. That said, State laws vary and the rule still holds that people demonstrate their knowledge of laws, rules, regulations…on their jobs. Students now cheat sometimes because current customs make them feel they SHOULD know answers to test questions before they have courses, before they even have their wisdom teeth or even a full-time, salaried job — even in a heavily regulated position in health care. Sarcasm generally withers hopes….

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