Gay Marriage

Ky. Governor's Action on Ex-Felon Voters Should Get More Attention Than Kim Davis Pandering

Bevin sends mixed messages on limits of executive power.


"It's different when I do it!"
Gov. Matt Bevin

New Republican Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin has brought County Clerk Kim Davis back into the news, briefly, by signing an executive order stripping the names off clerks off the marriage licenses in the state. People may recall that Kim Davis famously ended up in prison jail for several days on contempt charges for refusing to hand out marriage license with her name on it because she objected to the Supreme Court decision mandating legal recognition of same-sex couples.

The resolution to that fight was that her county handed out marriage licenses without her name on it, leading to questions as to whether or not those license are legal. Bevin has decided, via executive order, to make it so. He announced that all clerks will have their names yanked off the licenses so as to not to force any of them to have to put their stamp of approval on something that they may feel violates their religion.

Whether or not Bevin has the authority to make such an executive action is in question, though. The state's chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union objects to the order on the grounds that the requirement that the clerk's name be on the licenses is mandated by state law and therefore must be changed by the legislature, not the governor.

While that gets much of the national mainstream attention, there was another executive order that is much more deserving of concern. Before leaving office, previous Gov. Steve Beshear (a Democrat) signed an executive order of his own focused on restoring voting rights, jury rights, and occupational licensing rights to Kentucky citizens who had been convicted of felonies but were now freed. Kentucky requires these citizens to individually petition the governor for their rights to be restored. Via executive order Beshear ordered the process to be made automatic.

Yesterday Bevin issued an executive order rescinding Beshear's order. Though he says in the order he actually agrees with Beshear that ex-felons should be able to get their civil rights restored automatically, he doesn't want an executive action to be used for such a change because—wait for it!—he thinks an executive order may overstep the bounds of the governor's authority and wants the state's legislature to change the rules.

Oh, the irony.

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  1. Kim Davis famously ended up in prison for several days

    Scott, I think that was actually jail. Not sure where the US Marshalls took her, but my guess would be the nearest county jail unless there was a minimum security Federal Correctional Institute nearby. Here’s the major diff – jail is where you serve misdemeanor sentences (one year or less); prison is where you serve felony sentences (greater than one year). Prisoners on remand (awaiting trial) and serving contempt generally do so in jails.

    1. I was about to pick the name nit.

      1. Fixed as a Christmas present to pedants.

        1. Appeasement is never the answer.

          1. Neither is failure to post first.

            Merry Christmas, be kind ye to others, even progressives.

        2. God bless us, every one! Thanks, Scott. I only nitpick because I care. Or, something.

    2. That won’t matter to many, but it is factual. A detail I wonder about is the prior Gov and his clemency-did he do it like Clinton did his pardons, in the last few hours of the last day, while in the air and incommunicado to amazed press – some of whom would have felt compelled to ask about a few of the more obviously corrupt ones? So – was the big, huge, ongoing forever change in felon voting privilege order literally signed in the limo while driving away, and handed off the Gubernatorial mansion gate guard on the way off of the mansion grounds?

      1. A detail I wonder about is the prior Gov and his clemency-did he do it like Clinton did his pardons, in the last few hours of the last day

        I don’t know about “last day”, it was done after Bevin won the election but before he took office.

  2. OT: How long before one of our esteemed congress critters propose this here:

    Obedient citizen scores

    Entitled ‘Sesame Credit’, the program, “Aims to create a docile, compliant citizenry who are fiscally and morally responsible by employing a game-like format to create self-imposed, group social control.

    1. “Among the things that will hurt a citizen’s score are posting political opinions without prior permission, or posting information that the regime does not like…”

      Can’t. Happen. Here.

      1. Campus retards everywhere approve.

    2. a game-like format

      What’s more fun than ratting out your friends to Big Brother?!

      1. Turning in your mom?

    3. You know who else used a game format to control citizens?

        1. Julie Chen?

  3. so as to not to force any of them to have to put their stamp of approval on something that they may feel violates their religion.

    It’s not her stamp of approval. It’s the government’s stamp of approval (wrong as that concept may be).

    She should have been impeached for failing to accomplish her sworn duties.

    1. Ultimately has very little to do with this thread that Scott claims is an even bigger deal.

      Do we need to force these people to sign their name to it for no reason? I don’t think its necessary or important. As long as they get their marriage licenses issued. This executive order guarantees they will.

      1. Scott was criticizing the Governor’s hypocrisy in issuing the executive order on felons. The Kim Davis thing wasn’t what he said was a bigger deal.

      2. Do we need to force these people to sign their name to it for no reason?

        In that capacity she’s not “people” she’s “government”. Government will do what the people tell it to do (in theory). While she’s acting in that capacity she has no rights, only the powers the people give her. If she finds herself incapable of completing her obligations, she should step down.

      3. Does a signature appear on the license, or only a printed name? If the law will allow just a printed name, put that. And how about including a statement like “The name of the county clerk appears on this license in accordance with state law. The presence of that name does not in any way indicate that the clerk personally approves of this marriage.” The governor could also ask the legislature to remove the requirement that the clerk’s name be on the license. But in the meantime, including a statement like the one above would be preferable to just ignoring the legal requirement.

        1. It doesn’t matter. Kim Davis, County Clerk has no rights. She has delegated authority and responsibility. If the people she works for want her to doodle a pentagram and goat horns on a document to make it official than she either does that or finds another job.

  4. The state’s chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union objects to the order on the grounds that the requirement that the clerk’s name be on the licenses is mandated by state law and therefore must be changed by the legislature, not the governor.

    Why does the ACLU care? I thought their mission was to protect civil liberties, not to make sure that governments jump through the right administrative procedure hoops. (I didn’t see them getting all upset about how Obama violated federal statute to trade Taliban soldiers for Bowe Bergdahl without notifying Congress in advance.)

    1. Because not forcing bigots to put their name on the licenses doesn’t punish their enemies enough.

      Seriously, who cares about this story unless you really give a shit about the sanctity of Kentucky law? It kills two birds with one stone. People who hate gay marriages in these positions don’t have to sign off, and can’t grandstand. The gays get their government protected marriage.

      What is the story here?

      1. Both sides got what they wanted. A perfect Christmas gift for everyone.

        Any gay-rights person who is still upset is either a really sore winner or they have an agenda which goes beyond “equal marriage rights.”

        1. I can’t imagine that that could be the case…


        2. Why can’t both be true?

      2. Hypocrisy.

        The whole “we can’t do this because it exceeds executive power” while exceeding executive Powe elsewhere.

        That other people (Obama) are also hypocrites doesn’t make it something else.

  5. Even if he feels that automatic restoration (without petition) via executive order is a violation of law, wouldn’t an order automatically restoring rights to anyone *who petitioned* be valid under that reasoning?

    1. I think he feels that it’s an issue that merits debate and careful consideration instead of spiteful 11th hour executive orders.

  6. Kim Davis?

    *slows back out of thread*

  7. You know who else’s name was abruptly removed from things?

    1. Cecil Rhodes?

    2. Robert Byrd?

      Oh, I thought you said “was not”.

    3. Alexander Hamilton?

    4. Bill “The Pill” Cosby?

    5. Slave owners in Louisiana? You can’t name schools after former slave owners, so a lot of schools formerly named after Washington and Jefferson got renamed.

  8. Happy Federal Holiday

    A professor for political science at the University of Central Florida recently wrote an opinion piece for UCFToday calling for students to begin wishing one another a “Happy Federal Holiday” salutation instead of others that may be too selective and inclusive

    I call on the professor to piss the fuck off.

    1. I don’t like this instruction on how I should feel handed down to me as though from on high by another person who may very well be doing so to assert some sort of oppressive authority over me. “Acknowledged Federal Day of Observance to you” is the most you’ll get from me, because don’t even get me started on the implications of the root of that other word she used.

      1. I am so glad I finished my degree when I did. I couldn’t make it through today, I’m 100% sure I couldn’t get along with most of the retarded students and that I’d tell some prof to go get fucked.

        1. That’s the problem. No one is telling the little Eichmanns to get fucked.

    2. “In accordance with Article XXIV, Section b, subsection 5, of the Codified Code of Federal Codes, relating to exchange of seasonal greetings, I express my wish for you to enjoy any holiday, period of fasting and/or feasting, commemoration, or celebration which you may or may not be observing at this time of year in accordance with any faith tradition, cultural observance, or family custom followed by you, the celebrator, but this wish for enjoyment does not apply to commemorations of tragic events, and the foregoing is said without prejudice to persons not observing any holiday, period of fasting and/or feasting, commemoration, or celebration during this time of year and shall not preclude greetings to persons observing holidays, periods of fasting and/or feasting, commemorations, or celebrations at other times of year, any law or regulation to the contrary notwithstanding.”

      1. persons

        Fuck you, speciest.

    3. Holiday means holy day. A federal holy day would be an establishment of religion, and they should all be banned.

    4. It’s a great idea. Except “holiday,” which stems from “holy day” is too religious. So it should be something like “Happy Federally Mandated Day Off of Work.” But that would be an agresion against those exploited persons who have to work that day. So, “Happy Federal Day” would be better.

      Though, looking at it, the imperative to “happy” is an aggression against those who are sad or depressed. It invalidates their feelings and experiences. So, just “Federal Day!” Or maybe, “Hail, Comrade!”

  9. OK, I’d love to have some expert in Kentucky law weigh in on the restoration of rights thing.

    I did some brief Google research of this some time back, and posted the results here. But I certainly can’t vouch for the accuracy of such hasty research.

    And from the phrasing of Governor Lame-Duck Democrat’s order I can’t tell if it’s actually meant as a pardon or not.

    And I notice this in Governor Newly-Elected Republican’s order: “Nothing in this order, however, shall affect the restoration of civil rights granted prior to the date of this order.”

    I speculate that this means that if the corrections bureaucracy has processed an ex-felon’s application and granted a certificate of restoration of voting rights, then they get to retain their voting rights.

    I also wonder whether, if Governor Democrat’s order counted as a pardon, whether Governor Republican can grant an un-pardon.

    And I also note that Governor Democrat specified that though he was giving a lot of ex-felons the right to vote, he still wouldn’t let them possess firearms. Meaning that these ex-felons aren’t qualified to wield weapons *directly,* but they’re fully qualified to wield weapons *indirectly* by designating public officials to do it on their behalf.

    1. Isn’t this symptomatic of the way Democrats regard their voters – can’t care for themselves, can’t be allowed to defend themselves, their one job is to troop to the polls and elect Democrats.

      1. Without getting into the Kim Davis thing (which I agree with you that only folks of bad faith would be actively fighting the compromise), if state law requires that each felon has to petition to have his rights restored, then the executive branch can’t bypass this. And frankly, even if it was legal, it would be equally legal for the next governor to rescind it, returning to the situation to before the first executive order.

        To be honest, I think Scott just has hard feelings, and nothing this governor could do, short of publicly executing Davis would appease him.

        If someone wants the process to be changed, this is an obvious case to put before the legislature.

        1. Eh. See below. Probably the governor’s was granting every petition although they may have worked with the DOC to have petitions also automatically submitted.

        2. Actually, I would prefer both to go through the legislature, frankly.

          1. No, you wouldn’t.

            It went through the legislature already. And the people of Kentucky said ‘no’. rather than accept that, it moved to a court to decide that the voices of the people of Kentucky–and every other state that said ‘no’ to gay marriage–like California, Oregon, Michigan and a whole host of deep blue states( I use these as example to undermine the ‘yokel vote’ argument)–were invalid.

            And you appeared to have no problem with that.

            So it appears that you only want a legislatorial solution when it’s convenient.

            1. He was referring to what the article is about, the clerks’ names not having to be on licenses.

              Also the whole “judicial activism” complaint falls flat when you’re talking about clear tyranny by the majority; what happened is exactly the point of the constitution.

    2. I’d like to know how the stripping of someone’s constitutional rights, outside of a sentence being currently served, is constitutional at all.

      1. That, too.

      2. I know that “FYTW” gets used a lot here, but that’s basically the reasoning in the cases involving sex offender registries.

      3. KS aside, I do tend to agree with you. However, just as an academic question, I think a conviction by a jury trial would constitute due process, and therefore I think would survive a 5th amendment challenge. After all, if a person can be imprisoned, they could have other aspects of Liberty deprived of them.

        1. Where in the constitution does it say these are guaranteed rights unless you’ve ever been convicted of a crime?

          1. Well, the 13th amendment, which permits slavery or involuntary servitude “as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted,” is one place that comes to mind.

            1. US Constitution,Amendment 5:

              nor shall any person………be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law;

              Also, Amendment 14:

              ….nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law….

              You can’t lose your liberty without due process, but you can if due process has taken place. Defining “due process” becomes a problem, of course.

              Kevin R

      4. If it’s the law at the time of sentencing, isn’t the loss of rights essentially part of the sentence? There’s no reason to think that a multipart sentence should use the same duration on all aspects.

      5. That is the biggest issue here, I feel. It seems like the perfect way to marginalize groups the majority disagree with: criminalize the actions those groups participate in, sentence individuals of those groupa, and then make it impossible for those people to influence the government for the rest of their lives.

        How the fuck is that okay?

  10. The Donald is going to have a field day with this:

    Speak more slowly so that granny can understand you dear

  11. So, uh, why is the government in the marriage-licensing business in the first place?

    I have a simpler solution to this whole kerfluffle: get the government out of the business.

    1. You’re asking for people to be able to do things without first asking permission from the government. What kind of a monster are you?

    2. That is indeed the libertarian answer. And many cons are coming to that conclusion. I don’t care what their internal reasoning is to get there. I also don’t care if a person has a pathological hatred for gays. If there actions increase Liberty, that’s all that matters.

    3. We have had that discussion numerous times here. The majority answer is as long as the government is in the marriage business it must offer that equally to all under the equal protection clause.

  12. 99% approval rating for Thai government

    Look, Congress, you can learn a lot from these guys, obviously you’re not doing it right.

  13. Here we go:

    “Kentucky Constitution

    “Section 77

    “Power of Governor to remit fines and forfeitures, grant reprieves and pardons — No power to remit fees.

    “He shall have power to remit fines and forfeitures, commute sentences, grant reprieves and pardons, except in case of impeachment, and he shall file with each application therefor a statement of the reasons for his decision thereon, which application and statement shall always be open to public inspection. In cases of treason, he shall have power to grant reprieves until the end of the next session of the General Assembly, in which the power of pardoning shall be vested; but he shall have no power to remit the fees of the Clerk, Sheriff or Commonwealth’s Attorney in penal or criminal cases.”

    OK, this part leaps out at me – “he shall file with each application therefor a statement of the reasons for his decision thereon” etc.

    So if what the Democratic governor did was a pardon, then perhaps this means he needs to act application by application, filing a statement in each case explaining why he granted the pardon.

    (DISCLAIMER: If you’re a Kentucky felon, don’t look around the Internet to find out your rights, consult an attorney)

    1. But note that the legislature has nothing yo do with restoring voting rights as it is an executive function.

  14. If KY’s felon-rights restoration laws are like FL’s the governor is the only person with the power to restore their rights to vote. I think Crist set up a similar program where every petitioner who had completed their sentence got their voting rights restored. It seems strange to make the pardon power more of a legislative function. Also, I’m not sure the FL lege or KY would be able to change the law without a State Constitution change as it is currently done under the governor’s power to pardon.

    1. Very fair point. It does indeed sound like a purely executive, not legislative function. I guess unless the idea is that an amendment to the KY Constitution is required.
      But I still stand by the idea that even if the Dem Gov was ok, the Rep Gov is ok to go back to the way it was before.

      1. I agree. It is well within the prerogative of the governor how to exercise his power

      2. Going back and re-reading the article, I believe what the Dem Gov did may have been unConstitutional, but it depends on the details. It sounds like the reason for the individual applications is to have a public record as to why the governor chose to pardon or reprieve each particular person. If however, Dem Gov put in place an automatic system, that record may or may not exist.
        But still, in any case, the Rep Gov is well within his rights to reset back. And it is perfectly reasonable to have different ideas on the Constitutionality of different aspects of these laws. Even if one disagrees with either sides interpretation.

        1. I’m not a big fan of Beshear, but (assuming his exec order is un-constitutional) I could see the desired outcome of the exec order done through exec order nonetheless while satisfying constitutionality. It is disappointing that Bevin chose not to work on ways to do that.

  15. …how is this ironic? Governor thinks some things require executive orders and some don’t — just like liberals, conservatives, and libertarians do. Oh, but I guess if the ACLU says it’s against a state constitution, they must be right.

    Just like when they talk about gun control and campaign finance reform.


    1. Jesus. When the fuck is your ilk going to learn to spell and define “M-I-L-I-T-I-A”??

  16. “Yesterday Bevin issued an executive order rescinding Beshear’s order. Though he says in the order he actually agrees with Beshear that ex-felons should be able to get their civil rights restored automatically, he doesn’t want an executive action to be used for such a change because?wait for it!?he thinks an executive order may overstep the bounds of the governor’s authority and wants the state’s legislature to change the rules.”

    Irony plus he managed to stab libertarians, and ex-felons in the back at the same time while using pro-limited government reasoning. Well I guess we don’t call them CONservatives for nothing.

  17. I see nothing in the statement about ex-felons.

    Precisely how does someone become an ex-felon? Could someone become an ex-war veteran in a similar manner?

    Might be a wonderful cure for PTSD.

  18. Question, does Kentucky have a legislature? If so, is there a reason they aren’t doing this stuff?

    1. They’re only allowed to meet once every two years.

      Kentucky isn’t fond of government.

  19. The ACLU objects to the order about clerks because their concern is not allowing homosexual marriages, but forcing county clerks to quit or betray their religion. And naturally, as a libertarian, your sympathies seem to be for the homosexual militants demanding forced approval of their lifestyle. If that is the only alternative, I’d rather have the Saudi approach to the issue.

  20. Google pay 97$ per hour my last pay check was $8500 working 1o hours a week online. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I cant believe how easy it was once I tried it out.
    This is wha- I do…… ??????

  21. Reason should be screaming about voter suppression.

    I guess it’s too buried in rooting for the right to bother.

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