Sunday, October 02, 2022

6th Circuit Affirms That County Clerk Kim Davis Had No Qualified Immunity Defense

In Ermold v. Davis, (6th Cir., Sept. 29, 2022), the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a Kentucky federal district court decision that Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis does not have qualified immunity in a suit against her for stopping the issuance of all marriage licenses to avoid issuing licenses to same-sex couples. The court said in part:

[P]laintiffs have not only “alleged” but also now “shown” that Davis violated their constitutional right to marry.... And, as we held three years ago, that right was “clearly established in Obergefell.”

The court held that insofar as Davis has raised a free exercise defense under the First Amendment, that issue should be resolved when the case goes to trial and not at the current motion-to-dismiss stage. [Thanks to Thomas Rutledge for the lead.]