How would you define justice? I’m thinking Kim Davis having to pay more than $225,000 in legal costs comes pretty close…
That’s right: Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples in Rowan County last year, might have to pay the legal fees and costs of her opponents, which total $233,058.
You may recall that four couples (two same-sex and two straight ones) sued Davis as a result of her actions and that her case gained national attention when she was jailed for several days for contempt of court after failing to comply with repeated court orders.
Ultimately the lawsuit would be resolved earlier this year after Kentucky’s Republican governor changed state law to eliminate the need of clerks authorizing licenses.
As for her own costs, Davis has had an easy ride, what with the anti-LGBT Liberty Counsel providing pro bono legal work. But now it seems like she may finally have to pay up.
The four couples who sued her are appealing to US District Judge David Bunning to seek an order allowing them to recoup over $225,000 in legal fees and costs.
Rowan County is refusing to pay the costs, saying that Davis was acting on her own behalf, this according to the Lexington Herald-Leader. “County clerks are not employees of the county, but instead are the holders of elective office pursuant to the Kentucky Constitution,” says Jeffrey C. Mando, an attorney for Rowan County.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Kentucky’s legal director, William Sharp, had this to say: “Courts recognize that when successful civil rights plaintiffs obtain a direct benefit from a court-ordered victory, such as in this case, they can be entitled to their legal expenses to deter future civil rights violations by government officials.”
“By filing today’s motion, we hope to achieve that very objective — to send a message to government officials that willful violations of individuals’ rights will be costly.”
At this point, the Liberty Counsel is fighting the order on the grounds that Davis did not technically lose the case since the matter was resolved after a change in state law.