Oh my: Ted Cruz says states can ignore SCOTUS gay marriage ruling

The former Supreme Court clerk weighs in on the states with same-sex marriage bans and their obligation to adhere to the Supreme Court’s ruling on gay marriage. The distinction he makes is if a state is not named in the suit in question, it does not have to comply:

Ted Cruz has some unsolicited advice for the states not specifically named in last week’s Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage: Ignore it.

“Those who are not parties to the suit are not bound by it,” the Texas Republican told NPR News’ Steve Inskeep in an interview published on Monday. Since only suits against the states of Ohio, Tennessee, Michigan and Kentucky were specifically considered in the Supreme Court’s Obergefell v. Hodges decision, which was handed down last Friday, Cruz — a former Supreme Court clerk — believes that other states with gay marriage bans need not comply, absent a judicial order.

“[O]n a great many issues, others have largely acquiesced, even if they were not parties to the case,” the 2016 presidential contender added, “but there’s no legal obligation to acquiesce to anything other than a court judgement.”

I am not legally trained, but this sounds like a strategy that runs counter to rule of law (even if you think the SCOTUS ruling itself did just that), and would cost a bundle in lawsuits and legal back-and-forth with I’m not sure what benefit. Worse, it would siphon energy and resources from fighting challenges to religious liberty, which could and should be won, in favor of a fight that can’t.

Our right-leaning lawyers weigh in:

I suppose the idea here is to politically match Gov. Bobby Jindal’s suggestion that we get rid of the Court, which was also disappointing coming from a smart man. Jindal told Bret Baier of Fox News tonight that he was being glib when he offered this extra-Constitutional remedy. I’m pro- same-sex marriage AND I have a lot of issues with the actual legal reasoning, such that it is, in both Obergefell and King vs. Burwell, but I don’t think the answer is to ignore those decisions any more than I’d support advocating for ignoring Citizens United if you’re a liberal governor who doesn’t like it.

Carly Fiorina struck a different tone in her response to the gay marriage ruling:

This is only the latest example of an activist Court ignoring its constitutional duty to say what the law is and not what the law should be. Justice Alito spoke for so many of us when he said that “[t]oday’s decision usurps the constitutional right of the people to decide whether to keep or alter the traditional understanding of marriage…All Americans, whatever their thinking on that issue, should worry about what the majority’s claim of power portends.”

The Court ruled today that all Americans should receive equal benefits and rights from the government under the law. I have always supported this view. However, this decision was also about the definition of marriage itself. I do not agree that the Court can or should redefine marriage. I believe that responsibility should have remained with states and voters where this conversation has continued in churches, town halls and living rooms around the country.

Moving forward, however, all of our effort should be focused on protecting the religious liberties and freedom of conscience for those Americans that profoundly disagree with today’s decision.

The Court did not and could not end this debate today. Let us continue to show tolerance for those whose opinions and sincerely held beliefs differ from our own. We must lead by example, finding a way to respect one another and to celebrate a culture that protects religious freedom while promoting equality under the law.

In doing so, she surely condemned herself to the bottom of the heap for social conservative voters, right? Nope, she ended up second in a straw poll of conservatives at the Western Conservative Summit this weekend, easily outdoing Cruz and Huckabee (who attended the conference). Clarification: Huckabee attended the conference, but not Cruz. The way I wrote that might have been unclear.

Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina ended up at the top of the Western Conservative Summit’s presidential straw poll Sunday in Denver — though political analysts debated how much of a boost the vote may give the candidates.

Carson, a retired surgeon, won the straw poll for the second year in a row with 224 votes to beat out former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, who received 201 votes.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker was third with 192 votes, and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz was next with 100.

While most national polls have Jeb Bush as the front-runner, the former Florida governor finished 14th out of 18 candidates on the GOP straw poll ballot Sunday.

He got just four votes out of 871 that were cast — that’s one less than California Rep. Nancy Pelosi received on the ballot’s field of Democrats.