Outward

Rick Santorum’s and Bobby Jindal’s Debate Rants About Kim Davis Are Completely Insane

Former Sen. Rick Santorum speaks to guests at the Iowa Freedom Summit on Jan. 24, 2015. 

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

Have you ever wondered what it would sound like if two viciously anti-gay Republican candidates eager to pander to the evangelical base decided to trash the Constitution and the rule of law during a live TV debate? Wonder no more! During Wednesday night’s undercard debate on CNN, Jindal randomly pivoted to infamous Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, citing her brief imprisonment to prove that Christians are America’s most persecuted minority. (Jindal then touted his anti-gay executive order, which is almost certainly illegal.) Santorum quickly joined in, asserting that the Supreme Court’s marriage equality decision was illegitimate, and that, contra the Constitution, the Supreme Court actually has no authority to say what the law is.

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Mercifully, former New York Gov. George Pataki soon chimed in to declare that Davis, as a taxpayer-funded government official, really shouldn’t violate federal law. Graham agreed that no matter how bad a Supreme Court decision may be, the government has a duty to comply with it.

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Pataki and Graham’s pushback was a welcome moment of sanity—one that reflects the convictions of most Americans, particularly well-educated ones. Still, it’s a bit shocking to hear two high-profile politicians pillory the basic structure of our constitutional system so casually. Criticizing the Supreme Court is a time-honored tradition. Arguing for the effective repeal of the Supremacy Clause is a disturbing fringe tactic that is worming its way toward the mainstream of the GOP.

 Read more of Slate’s coverage of the GOP primary. 

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