It’s starting to seem like Mike Huckabee doesn’t really understand the Constitution.
The Republican presidential candidate argued earlier this week that the infamous 1857 Dred Scott decision remained “the law of the land” — although the 14th Amendment overturned that ruling a little more than a decade later.
Huckabee made another staggering claim about the judicial branch Thursday during a discussion about defiant Kentucky clerk Kim Davis with the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins.
“The governor can fix this very simply by simply saying he’ll change the form,” Huckabee said. “Now the question is, does he have the authority to do that? And if so, under what authority?”
According to Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear’s attorney, the legislature must vote on the composition of marriage licenses — although the governor did issue an executive order following the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality to remove gender-specific language to comply with the law.
“This is where this all gets very confusing, and it’s why the haste to rush into implementing same-sex marriage is so ridiculous,” Huckabee said. “Frankly, Tony, it’s why it’s so illegal, is because this has left the whole country in a state of ambiguity and confusion.”
Huckabee pointed to a Tennessee judge who refused to grant a divorce to a straight couple, saying that conservative jurist’s deliberate protest of the Obergefell decision showed the world had gone topsy-turvy.
The former Arkansas governor then argued that Davis, who succeeded her mother as Rowan County clerk in January, was not obligated to follow laws that went into effect after she took office.
In fact, Huckabee argued, she could face potential felony charges if she “arbitrarily” changed the wording on marriage licenses issued by her office.
“When she was elected to that position, she was operating under the Kentucky constitution that expressly says that marriage is between a man and a woman,” Huckabee argued. “So that’s what she was elected on, that is the job she is doing, and there is a specific statute in Kentucky law that if she just arbitrarily changes the wording of the marriage license, that’s a felony.”
The GOP candidate is technically correct that Davis is not authorized to alter marriage licenses, but she has been directed by the governor, state attorney general and several judges to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples — but she refuses to do so.
“So here’s the question: Which law does she follow?” Huckabee pondered. “The ambiguous and unconstitutional judicial tyranny ruling of the Supreme Court that has not yet been codified? Or does she follow the specific constitutional and statutory requirements under Kentucky law, under which she was elected?”
U.S. District Court Judge David Bunning, who has authority over the case after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear Davis’ appeal, has already answered Huckabee’s questions and even jailed the county clerk after she refused his offer to issue the licenses or step down from her elected position.
“I just really am disappointed that some of the people think the way to handle this is just have public officials resign their jobs, because they’re going to go ahead and surrender to what Jefferson called judicial tyranny,” Huckabee said.