Breaking: Federal judge orders Kim Davis released from jail; Update: She'll halt new licenses, says lawyer

It might be a short reprieve: She’s released only on the condition that she not interfere with her deputy clerks when they issue marriage licenses.

The timing may seem odd given that Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee are both in town and were planning to visit her in jail. Now that she’s free, they can all hold a big rally together and dump on the judge in front of a banc of microphones for “criminalizing Christianity,” as Huckabee likes to frame it. Judge Bunning may have felt he simply had no grounds to hold her any longer, though: The point of the contempt charge was to force her to comply with the law, but if all of the couples who were seeking licenses have now received them, then compliance has been achieved via her deputies. No need to keep up the pressure on Davis in that case — unless she forbids them from complying with the next applicants. Which, in all likelihood, she will.

As I write this, the media is outside the jail waiting for her to emerge and speak. No word on when Cruz and Huckabee make their appearance, but stay tuned for updates.

Update: Some of the less outspoken social cons in the GOP field aren’t thrilled with the grandstanding here from Huckabee and Cruz.

“Frankly, I don’t think you should grandstand on this stuff,” New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said on “Fox and Friends” Tuesday morning, referring to 2016 candidates planning to visit Davis.

“Look, everybody is entitled to their opinions, and I love Mike Huckabee and what he stands for. But I just think there’s bigger fish to fry here in terms of people understanding what faith in God really means,” Ohio Gov. John Kasich told reporters in Maine on Tuesday. “I don’t agree with Court’s decision but I had said I was going to accept the court’s decision.”

Christie’s solution to the standoff is to try to have Davis reassigned to another government job with less potential for a crisis of conscience. Who wants to tell him that she’s an elected official and can’t simply be transferred to another department?

Update: Like I said, should be a short reprieve.

CNN correspondent Martin Savidge, who was at the jail, explained following the order that her attorney, Harry Mihet, said that the judge had ordered the release because her office had satisfied the court by issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples while she was behind bars.

“The problem here is that the attorney says she has not changed her mind, that Kim Davis is adamant that as long as her name appears on those marriage licenses, she objects and she will attempt to stop those licenses from being distributed,” Savidge reported. “Which means if she goes back on the job as is expected, she will bring the process to a halt. That’s what her attorneys believe.”

“They have said they expect her to go by her conscience which means we may go through this all again,” the CNN correspondent noted.

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