Posted by: JDM..... | September 5, 2015

On challenging the law.….

and “being” right vs. “having” a right…

One does not have to approve of or agree with a law in order to demonstrate approval of and agreement with the system that produces it. The worst thing that can happen to a law is that it ceases to be challenged. What requires consistency is the system under which those laws are created and dismissed. Similarly, one of the worst things that can happen to such a system is that it is declared infallible. A claim of infallibility in any sector of human existence is one of the greatest predictors of impending tyranny. When an individual or group of individuals claim franchise to any kind of irrefutable, infallible knowledge or creed, the self-endorsed will stop at nothing to acquire full agreement with that knowledge or creed, and compliance with their interpretations of same. History provides a continuum of examples throughout the haunts of humankind, and the current slaughter occurring in the Middle East is a prime example.

Whether court clerk Kim Davis is challenging a law, defending one, or both, or none of the above is largely a matter of perspective as demonstrated by the varying opinions of the lawyers involved in the case.

Both Davis and the prospective couples who repeatedly requested marriage licenses, despite serial refusals, were standing up for principles of great importance to them.  Davis could have avoided the controversy and jail by simply following the law or quitting her job, but why should she? Not all laws are “right“, just because they are “legal”, and while it would be more expedient for those who disagree with her if she would just go away or give in, the same could be said of those insisting on obtaining their marriage licenses at that specific location. They could have gone elsewhere, but why should they? She shouldn’t, and they shouldn’t, any more than Rosa Parks should have quietly moved to the back of the bus as ordered.

These kinds of questions are not unusual in this country, and I hope they never become so. Some of the most significant changes in history occurred because people stood by what they believed in, regardless of consequences both threatened and imposed. That is not to say simply being oppositional invokes “right”, but that may be the start of discovering it sometimes.

Whatever stance wins out in the end, the “legal”, Constitutional, ethical, and moral “rights” of all sides of the controversy to assert and defend their particular positions must be respected, whether agreed with in substance or not.

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  1. I agree that the system we that allows for the right to protest laws should be respected. As citizens we must always defend that right, even for those, or maybe especially for those that we disagree with. But in the matter you reference, the Kentucky county clerk, this is not an issue of one citizen opposing another. Mrs. Davis is an elected official who took an oath to uphold the law as it is written. She doesn’t have a right, in her official capacity, to pick and choose which laws she will adhere to and comply with.

    • No, this is not a matter of “one person opposing another.” I see it as two people standing firm by their beliefs, and those beliefs are not in agreement. Actually, I believe she has the same right as anyone else. Even the UCMJ provides for disobeying orders, though you’d better be able to defend your decision if you do! Davis will most likely get the short straw on this one, but that doesn’t mean she was wrong to stand up for what she believed was right in her case.

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