Kim Davis owes $260,000 to the lawyers of the gay men whose marriage license she denied
The former county clerk, who's been married four times, refused to do her job because she wanted to protect the sanctity of marriage
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It never gets old saying this: Christian bigot Kim Davis has lost again.
The former Rowan County, Kentucky clerk who defied the law in 2015 when she refused to sign marriage licenses for same-sex couples, and who already had to pay $100,000 to one of the couples whose civil rights she blocked, will now have to pay that couple’s lawyers over $260,000 in legal fees.
U.S. District Judge David Bunning had already ruled in 2022 that Davis broke the law when she refused to do her job, by signing a legal marriage license, on account of her Christian bigotry. When a jury heard the case last September to assess damages, they didn’t buy any of the arguments offered by her attorneys at Liberty Counsel. So they eventually ruled that Davis owed David Ermold and David Moore $50,000 each. (A different jury decided that another same-sex couple was owed no damages from Davis. It’s not clear why Davis escaped punishment in that case.) Liberty Counsel had argued that Davis had qualified immunity and couldn’t be sued. The jury, on the other hand, was persuaded by the principle of fuck around and find out.
At the time, Liberty Counsel said they would appeal the decision… and, of course, that went nowhere because Kim Davis clearly broke the law.
But that left one open question: How much money did her side need to pay the Plaintiffs’ lawyers? She lost the case; now it was a matter of paperwork. The Plaintiffs asked for “$246,026.40 in attorneys’ fees and $14,058.30 in expenses.” Davis’ team tried to whittle that down to a little over $100,000.
Once again, Judge Bunning didn’t buy any of the Davis team’s arguments. Even if you don’t follow legal cases, you will thoroughly enjoy reading this decision.
Consider how Bunning lays out the matter at hand, implying that the Plaintiffs’ lawyers have been working on this case for years:
The procedural history of this case is well documented in the record and the Court need not reiterate it in detail here. In sum, following extensive discovery, multiple motions, dispositive and otherwise, four appeals to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, one petition for a writ of certiorari to the United States Supreme Court and a three-day jury trial, this case is on the eve of final resolution. One issue remains — attorneys’ fees and expenses.
The bottom line, the judge says, is that the requests for payment from the Plaintiffs’ various lawyers—the number of hours they worked and how much they expect to be paid—are “reasonable.” That’s all that matters to him. He has no plans to “engage in micro-litigation,” nor is he “inclined to split hairs.” And he definitely has no stomach for Liberty Counsel’s pathetic arguments for why they shouldn’t have to pay what the other side wants.
Here’s an example of that: At one point, two of the Plaintiffs’ lawyers say they charge $375/hour and $275/hour, respectively. Kim Davis’ team wanted to cut that down to $350/hour and $250/hour because those were the rates the lawyers submitted in the original case filing.
Bunning points out a key difference, though (and notice his bolding!):
The Court finds that the rates sought by Plaintiffs are reasonable. The Court is not inclined to reduce these rates based upon what was found to the prevailing market rates six years ago. It is well within the bounds of reason that the hourly rates of counsel would increase anywhere from roughly 7% to 10% over the course of six years…
In other words, those lower rates might have been fine when the case began, but you people have been fighting this losing battle forever.
The judge eventually agreed to give the Plaintiffs’ attorneys every single cent they asked for, for a grand total of $260,084.70.
Liberty Counsel is predictably saying they will appeal this ruling, too, further dragging out a case they began in 2015.
This latest judgment now allows Liberty Counsel to ask the Court to reverse the jury’s verdict against Davis because there was insufficient evidence to award the plaintiffs monetary damages. If the motion is denied, Liberty Counsel will then appeal the case to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.
They’re doing this for one reason only: It’s good for fundraising. Much like Donald Trump’s attorneys, there’s no longer a legal argument in Davis’ defense, so her side is just fighting in order to tell supporters they’re fighting, hoping to line their own pockets off of Davis’ faith-based arrogance.
The best thing about all this is that it gives us yet another opportunity to remind everybody of Kim Davis’ inherent hypocrisy—opposing same-sex marriage while engaging in all kinds of straight shenanigans of her own.
This is a woman who, in chronological order, married Husband 1, had twins with Husband 3, divorced Husband 1, married Husband 2, divorced Husband 2, married Husband 3, divorced husband 3, and then remarried Husband 2.
(Just like Jesus wanted.)
How did she justify her personal life with the whole “sanctity of marriage” thing? Simple. “God still wasn’t in the picture” until Husband 2’s mother died, she wrote in her book, and they went back to church in 2011. So she wasn’t a hypocrite, everyone; she just wasn’t really a Christian yet.
In fact, in that book, she chalked up the whole hypocrisy charge to “divine irony.” God took a woman married four times and used her to defend marriage against the gays. Isn’t that so mysterious of Him?!
I look forward to hearing the explanation now that she’s lost a legal battle yet again.
There is one important question that we don’t have an answer to: Who’s gonna pay this bill?
Liberty Counsel won’t say anything because they’re still appealing the decision, but odds are they’re not paying anything on Davis’ behalf. Groups like theirs will promise to work for free on a client’s behalf (because the case advances their mission), but if that client loses, that client has to pay everything else. It’s also hard to imagine Davis herself will be writing any checks because that would be admitting defeat. My prediction is that, after the appeals fail, Davis and her team will just try and fundraise the amount from gullible conservatives who believe forcing their views on other people (even as government officials), then getting punished for it, is an example of Christian persecution.
These people love pretending to be victims. They wrongly believe their faith grants them automatic permission to break the law and discriminate.
The funny thing is that Davis always had an option available for free: If she didn’t want to sign same-sex marriage licenses after Obergefell, she could have resigned. She would have still been a “martyr” for conservative Christians everywhere! Instead, she insisted on staying in her job while breaking the law. She has since become a laughingstock for the nation—a symbol of Christian hubris, selfishness, and hate.
(Portions of this article were published earlier because this damn story never ends)