The Alabama Attorney General fails in his most important duty

Chief Justice Roy Moore of Alabama may be forgiven for his order to the probate judges of his state directing them to disregard the SSM order of an Alabama federal judge. I say this because a less decorous person might rightfully label him nuts. I am far more bothered by the behavior of Alabama’s Attorney General.

2According to the Washington Post, the Alabama Attorney General, Mr. Luther Strange, told his state’s probate judges that he cannot advise them what to do regarding the issuance of marriage licenses to same sex couples and suggested they seek help elsewhere. That was an abdication of his most essential duty–to insure that Alabama follows the rule of law.

That the Attorney General does not like the ruling of the federal judge or that the Alabama Attorney General must deal with Chief Justice Moore is no excuse. A federal judge has said that Alabama must allow SSM and that declaration in our federal system is binding. That’s it–game over, at least for now. It is not debatable.

The Alabama Attorney General should tell the people of Alabama, and especially the probate judges, that they have an obligation to follow the rule of law. After all, the rule of law only matters when you don’t like the results.


Alabama probate judges might wish to brush up on federal contempt of court powers

U.S. District Court Judge Callie V.S. “Ginny” Granade on Jan. 23 struck down Alabama’s laws banning same-sex marriage in a ruling in one same-sex couple’s lawsuit in Mobile. The judge ruled that probate judges around the state should begin issuing licenses to same-sex couples on Monday Feb. 9 if an appeals court did not issue a stay. No stay has been issued. Alabama probate judges who refuse to follow the order may well be subject to the power of the federal court to hold them in contempt. For a good article laying out the broad powers of a federal district judge to hold individuals in civil or criminal contempt, here is an extensive explanation of those powers.

Acting like a yokel and mouthing off about ludicrous theories of states’ rights is one thing. Defying a specific order of a federal court is quite another.


The injunction issued by the district court states:

Accordingly, the court hereby ORDERS that the Alabama Attorney General
is prohibited from enforcing the Alabama laws which prohibit same-sex marriage.
This injunction binds the defendant and all his officers, agents, servants and
employees, and others in active concert or participation with any of them, who
would seek to enforce the marriage laws of Alabama which prohibit same-sex

See here for full order. Also here for PDF. ORDER Strawser v. Strange (8)


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