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Kentucky Judge Refuses to Hear Any Case Involving a ‘Practicing Homosexual’ Wanting to Adopt a Child

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Breach of Ethics?

A Kentucky family court judge has announced he will not hear adoption cases involving any “practicing homosexual” or “homosexual parties” because it would not be in the “best interests of the child” to allow same-sex couples or LGBT people to be parents.

Judge W. Mitchell Nance, who was re-elected to an 8-year term when he ran unopposed in 2014, on Thursday issued an order saying he has the right and the obligation to recuse himself from any case in which he might have a personal bias.

The Courier-Journal reports Judge Nance says that “as a matter of conscience” he believes that “under no circumstance” would “the best interest of the child be promoted by the adoption by a practicing homosexual.”

Nance told the Courier-Journal in an interview, “I stand behind the law I have cited, the matter of conscience I addressed and the decision I have made.”

Asked if judges who oppose capital punishment should be able to recuse themselves from death penalty cases, he said, “I really have not thought about that enough to given an intelligent answer.”

Judge Nance’s stance, however, may be a problem.

“He has taken an oath to uphold the law, which by virtue of the equal protection clause does not tolerate discrimination on the basis of race, religion or sexual orientation,” Indiana University law school professor Charles Geyl, a judicial ethics expert, says. “If he is unable to set his personal views aside and uphold the law — not just in an isolated case, but with respect to an entire class of litigant because he finds them odious — it leads me to wonder whether he is able to honor his oath.”

Nance, not surprisingly, has been described by local attorneys as highly religious and opposed to divorce, The Courier-Journal notes.

“Even in uncontested divorces involving no children, he makes the parties appear in court, offers them condolences on the demise of their marriage and makes them explain why it didn’t work out.”

Attorneys say he also asked divorce litigants where they go to church and whether they are a true believer.

It’s unclear if that, too, is within the confines of proper judicial ethics.

Judge Nance notified local lawyers they will need to request a different judge should they have an adoption case involving LGBT people or same-sex couples.

But clearly the average person would have reason to believe Judge Nance’s personal biases extend past adoption.

Lawyers say Nance will now also have to disqualify himself from any litigation involving gay people, including divorces involving a spouse coming out of the closet. He said he understands that gays and lesbians would have reservations about appearing before him.”

It would seem that any LGBT person who Judge Nance ruled against might have reason to contest the ruling, as might any person who thinks the judge thought they are not a “true believer.”

Would a defendant or plaintiff whose views on marriage equality or rights of LGBT people are different than Judge Nance’s have reason to question his ability to be fair? Would they also have reason to question his rulings?

Dan Canon, a Louisville lawyer who helped win the right of same-sex marriage in Kentucky, said: “The bottom line is if this judge can’t fulfill his duties because of his personal biases, he should resign.” Chris Hartman, director of the Fairness Campaign, said, “If he can’t do the job, he shouldn’t have the job.” 

The Glasgow Daily Times adds that “Nance performs marriages, but said he has never been asked to marry a gay couple. If he were asked, Nance said he would decline to perform the marriage rights.”

Depending on Kentucky law, that too could pose a problem for Nance.

Judge Nance is up for re-election in 2023.

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Image by Victoria Pickering via Flickr and a CC license

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COMMENTARY

‘We’re in Trouble’: Steve Schmidt Issues Dire Warning About Changed GOP After January 6th Insurrection

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Appearing on MSNBC’s the 11th Hour with host Brian Williams, former GOP campaign consultant Steve Schmidt warned that Democrats need to accept that the Republican Party has changed drastically after four years of Donald Trump and the Jan 6th riot — and failure to recognize that simple fact puts the entire country at risk.

Using one of Schmidt’s tweets where he called Trump’s “truth” a “hideous deception” as a jumping-off point, the former Republican warned, “We’re in trouble.”

“Objectively, since the insurrection on Jan 6th, the Republican Party is far more radical,” Schmidt began. “Far more committed to the lie that Trump has told, fully committed to the authoritarian movement.”

“Should the events repeat themselves, the Republican Party is in a much different place than it was this past election with regard to being prepared to subvert the legal and lawful results,” he continued.

“The Democrats have done nothing since coming into office,” he added. “They have done nothing to prevent any of the abuses we have seen, done nothing to harden any of the infrastructures”

He later added, “This is a serious moment.”

Watch below:

 

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ANALYSIS

‘Something That’s Under Way’: Trump Aims to Use Russian Tactic to Be ‘Installed Without Winning’ in 2024 Says Yale Historian

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Former president Donald Trump and his GOP supporters are hoping to rely on a tactic that’s common in Russia to return him to the White House in 2024, according to one prominent expert on authoritarianism.

“As someone who follows contemporary Russia, there is a Russian phrase that comes to mind, which is the ‘administrative resource,'” author and Yale University history professor Timothy Snyder told MSNBC on Friday. “What the administrative resource means in Russian is that sure, you have an election, but the people who are running the election are going to determine how the election turns out. What the Republicans are going for is precisely that thing, the administrative resource.”

Snyder then explained how this mechanism works and how Trump and Republicans might apply it during the next election.

“Historically speaking, what we know about a ‘big lie’ is that because of its very scale, it’s not about truth or not truth; it’s about living in a kind of alternative reality,” Snyder added. “What we’re looking at is people who believe in or pretend to believe in this Big Lie, actually carrying out our elections. And the problem with this, or one of them, is that since these people have already claimed that the other side cheated, that basically legitimizes their cheating. In other words, if you talk about the Big Lie now, you’re basically promising to cheat the next time around, and that’s very concerning.”

He concluded by saying that this is a clear and present danger, not merely a theoretical one.

“The scenario for 2024 for most influential people around Donald Trump, which unfortunately means one of the political parties, is precisely to be installed without winning the election,” Snyder said. “I don’t think it’s something that could happen. I think it’s something that’s under way, and the question is, can we accept this reality in time to take the measures we need to take to prevent it?”

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

‘Ghoulish’ Lauren Bobert Branded a ‘Sociopath’ for Attacking Alec Baldwin: ‘Grieving Family Just Lost Their Loved One’

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U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert, the QAnon Republican lawmaker and gun rights activist who owns a bar named Shooters in Rifle, Colorado, is being criticized after posting a tweet mocking and attacking Alec Baldwin. The well-known actor who spent several years playing Donald Trump on “Saturday Night Live” shot and killed award-winning cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, apparently by accident, with a prop gun on set less than 24 hours ago.

Boebert dug up a seven-year old tweet Baldwin had sent in support of Michael Brown, the 18-year old Black man fatally shot by a Ferguson, Missouri police officer.

She then added a snide and ugly remark and posted it to Twitter, only too happy to use the pain of Hutchins’ grieving family, friends, and industry as a tool to attack Baldwin:

The outrage was palpable, even from a few on the right, like former Trump White House Director of Strategic Communications:

A Democratic U.S. Congressman weighed in:

This MSNBC correspondent made a keen observation:

And many others:

 

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