Miscellaneous Mental Musings of an Emerging Artist
If Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis receives good strategic counsel, here’s how I think this will go down, now that the SCOTUS has refused to hear her appeal.
Davis will remain in her position and continue to deny marriage licenses as she sees fit. She will continue to draw her regular paychecks towards her $80,000 annual salary. The state legislature will discuss impeaching her, but the current makeup of that body deems it unlikely that they will make any forward motion. The governor may make a statement decrying public servants who refuse to serve the law, but he cannot himself remove her; he can only distance himself from her.
The Kentucky Attorney General’s office has the option to move forward with charges of Official Misconduct brought against Davis by Rowan County, which cannot itself prosecute her. If convicted of those charges, Davis faces fines and forfeiture of her salary, but based on her past defiance, she may let it go as far as that.
Current AG Jack Conway–a moderate conservative Democrat with some liberal perspectives–would seem likely to entertain these charges, but he is also running for governor this year, with a very slight lead over Republican challenger Matt Bevin (who is himself being hamstrung by a third-party conservative candidate; if this candidate drops his bid, Bevin could overtake Conway). If Conway’s people tell him that taking on this case against Davis hurts his chances in November, one wonders if he finds a way to put it off until after the election, then takes it up during his lame duck session if he wins.
Ultimately, one way or another, Davis will leave this position, squeezed out by the financial factors or via a statement that she is resigning to “take pressure off of herself and her family.”
She will then be free to begin a vigorous tour of conservative media outlets, hailed as a principled, straight-shooting Christian heroine who fell afoul of liberal oppression in Obama’s America. She will be name-checked by the remaining horses in the GOP race for the presidential nomination and will be courted as an invited guest to stump speeches or the national convention. She will be set upon by stylists, determined to make her over into the icon conservatives need. Kim the Clerk will be this cycle’s Joe the Plumber.
And when she returns to Kentucky, somebody in a government position of power who has agreed with her the whole time will help shuffle her into a nice, comfortable appointment where she can continue to quietly fight against equality without having to interact with these people she hates so much.
Disclaimer: Little would make me happier than being wrong about this.