Justice Anthony Kennedy said something so shocking that if a conservative justice had said it, there would be calls for his impeachment or a required psychiatric evaluation to test his sanity.
Speaking at Harvard Law School, Justice Anthony Kennedy — author of the unconstitutional Obergefell 5-4 majority same-sex marriage opinion — was asked a question on whether civil officials have the moral right to object to a new law based on the legal fundamentals of older constitutional laws, for example, abortion and same-sex marriage
Here’s part of Justice Kennedy’s answer:
“If I could rephrase it in a fair way, what is the duty of a public official if he or she cannot in good conscience, and consistent with their own personal and religious beliefs, enforce a law they think is morally corrupt?
“How many judges do you think resigned in the Third Reich? Three. Great respect, it seems to me, has to be given to people who resign rather than do something they think is morally wrong, in order to make a point. However, the rule of law is that, as a public official and performing your legal duties, you are bound to enforce the law.”
What? It seems to me that greater respect should go to civil officials who resist unjust laws by staying in power and blocking the new laws. Resigning meant that there wouldn’t be any legal consequences like imprisonment, loss of livelihood, or a trip to an internment camp.
Resignation would mean that no price had to be paid. Just resign and collect your pension like a good little Nazi. The following clip from the 1953 prisoner of war film Stalag 17 reminded me of Kennedy’s comments:
Ted Cruz posted the video of Kennedy’s comments on his Facebook page and made the following observation:
“When a Supreme Court justice compares his own lawless rulings to the draconian oppression of the Nazis – and says that Christians should resign from public office if they will not surrender to his imperious decrees – that really says it all. Those are his words, not mine. Justice Kennedy is holding up the Nazis as exemplars for the current Supreme Court.
“I, for one, would rather stand with heroes like Bonhoeffer, than the tyrants who inflicted unspeakable evil. And the persecution of Christians – in Iran, China, or America – is simply wrong.” (H/T: WND)
What might have happened in Germany if civil officials had worked together to stop the new Nazi laws? What would happen in the United States if a majority of states, using the Tenth Amendment as their legal and constitutional standing, refused to follow federal laws and decisions by the Supreme Court that are unconstitutional?
When Niemoeller used his pulpit to expose Adolf Hitler’s radical politics, “He knew every word spoken was reported by Nazi spies and secret agents.”1 Leo Stein describes in his book I Was in Hell with Niemoeller how the Gestapo gathered evidence against Niemoeller. Not the last sentence:
“Now, the charge against Niemoeller was based entirely on his sermons, which the Gestapo agents had taken down stenographically. But in none of his sermons did Pastor Niemoeller exhort his congregation to overthrow the Nazi regime. He merely raised his voice against some of the Nazi policies, particularly the policy directed against the Church. He had even refrained from criticizing the Nazi government itself or any of its personnel. Under the former government his sermons would have been construed only as an exercise of the right of free speech. Now, however, written laws, no matter how explicitly they were worded, were subjected to the interpretation of the judges.”2
Read more: “Gestapo Tactics in Today’s Churches.”
The judges were the problem because they defended the Nazi regime. The three judges Kennedy mentions had no authority to oppose what the Nazis were doing because they followed his advice and resigned.
Let’s ask Justice Kennedy if this November 1941 proclamation by Dr. Ludwig Fischer, the German district governor of Warsaw, should have been followed by German soldiers, judges, and other civil officials?:
“Concerning the Death Penalty for Illegally Leaving Jewish Residental Districts… Any Jew who illegally leaves the designated residential district will be punished by death. Anyone who deliberately offers refuge to such Jews or who aids them in any other manner (i.e., offering a night’s lodging, food, or by taking them into vehicles of any kind, etc.) will be subject to the same punishment. Judgment will be rendered by a Special Court in Warsaw. I forcefully draw the attention of the entire population of the Warsaw District to this new decree, as henceforth it will be applied with the utmost severity.”
And the rest, they say, is history – a bloody history.
- Basil Miller, Martin Niemoeller: Hero of the Concentration Camp, 5th ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1942), 112. [↩]
- Leo Stein, I Was in Hell with Niemoeller (New York: Fleming H. Revell, 1942), 175. [↩]