Supreme Court Rejects Anti-Gay Clerk’s Emergency Application

Arielle Cronig and Elaine Cleary embrace outside the U.S. Supreme Court after the ruling in favor of same-sex marriage, June 26, 2015.

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

On Monday night, the Supreme Court refused to stay a lower court decision ordering Kim Davis, an anti-gay Kentucky county clerk, to resume granting marriage licenses. Davis had denied marriage licenses to gay couples after the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, citing her own religious opposition to same-sex marriage. Several couples sued, and Davis—a taxpayer-funded public servant—decided to stop issuing all licenses. A federal judge ordered Davis to continue performing her duties, and an appeals court declined to stay his decision. Now that the Supreme Court has rejected Davis’ request for an injunction, she must resume granting marriage licenses or risk being held in contempt of court.

The court’s Monday decision did not specify why the justices declined to intervene, nor did it note any dissents. Still, its refusal to act suggests that the justices do not believe Davis has a strong likelihood of winning her case on its merits. Even if Davis did somehow win this case, however, she wouldn’t be rid of her legal woes: The county attorney’s office is currently looking to charge her for official misconduct—a crime punishable by up to one year in jail.