Citing Nazis, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Kennedy Says Religious Civil Magistrates Must Obey Law or Resign

Kennedy Harvard-compressedCAMBRIDGE, Mass. — During a recent talk at Harvard Law School, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy said that while there are sometimes “difficult moral questions” surrounding whether or not to follow Supreme Court opinion, civil magistrates must enforce the law, noting that only three German judges resigned rather than follow Nazi directives.

A student asked Kennedy during the question and answer period as to whether or not would be permissible for lesser magistrates to enforce laws relating to same-sex “marriage” and abortion that differ from Supreme Court declarations.

“As I understand in your Obergefell opinion, the new insights into the nature of marriage require states to issue marriage licenses in accord with this alternative version of marriage, or understanding of marriage, and I can understand a similar case … that would be that new insights into the nature of human life require states to take steps to stop abortion,” he said.

“Would you say that there are any state or federal officials with authority to act according to their own judgment of the truth of new insights or of the soundness of the court’s constitutional interpretation,” the student continued, “or would it be illegal for any federal official or state official to enforce or to act according to the old understanding of life and the Constitution that she still judges to be the truth of the matter?”

Kennedy replied by noting that there were very few who resigned in Germany rather than obey Nazi directives, stating that he respects the few who follow their convictions.

“How many judges do you think resigned in the Third Reich? Three,” he stated. “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.”

But the justice said that he feels civil magistrates must follow the law and hesitated to endorse the concept of rejecting Supreme Court opinion.

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“[T]he rule of law is that, as a public official and performing your legal duties, you are bound to enforce the law,” he stated. “It’s difficult sometimes to see whether or not what you’re doing is transgressing your own personal philosophies; this requires considerable introspection. It’s a fair question that officials can and should ask themselves.”

“But certainly in an offhand comment, it would be difficult for me to say that people are free to ignore a decision of the Supreme Court,” Kennedy continued. “Lincoln went through this in the Dred Scott case, and these are difficult moral questions.”

Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz chastised Kennedy on social media in posting a video of the justice’s comments.

“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,” he wrote. “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,” Cruz continued. “And the persecution of Christians—in Iran, China, or America—is simply wrong.”

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  • Dave_L

    Paul tells us not to be unequally yoked to unbelievers; This means Christians cannot involve themselves in the office of the Magistrate. Neither are we to become an arm of the Magistrate.

    By Law, the State if “Faithless”.

    “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?” (2 Corinthians 6:14–15)

    (Romans 6:13) Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.

  • Josey

    Matthew 5:13-16 13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

  • WorldGoneCrazy

    Wow! Did this SCOTUS judge actually use the Nazis as his justification for forcing lower magistrates to perform objectively immoral acts?!?

    I must agree 100% with him then: he is most certainly a modern-day Nazi. Ted Cruz nailed it on the head. The Gaystapo and pro-abort cartel are finally admitting which playbook they are operating from – that of the Third Reich!

    • Dave_L

      “The preparations of the heart in man, And the answer of the tongue, is from the Lord.” (Proverbs 16:1)

      • WorldGoneCrazy

        Nice and very applicable Proverb, Dave L – thanks for sharing it!

    • acontraryview

      “Wow! Did this SCOTUS judge actually use the Nazis as his justification for forcing lower magistrates to perform objectively immoral acts?!?”

      No, he did not.

  • It doesn’t really matter who supports marriage equality for Gay couples, and who doesn’t. The issue is over and done with. And sure, there may be a few clerks and judges and business owners who continue to bitch about it, but they won’t prevent a single Gay couple from getting married in the long run. Time to move on.

  • WhiteDragonKing

    Acts 5:29 But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.

    • Bezukhov

      My Bible has it:

      And then Peter picked up a club and started beating on the Pagans around him screaming “And you filthy wretches are going to obey our God, too!!!”

      • Jeanine Schaefer

        What verse is THAT?

        • Bezukhov

          Same verse, just that sentence included.
          “But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. And then Peter picked up a club and started beating on the Pagans around
          him screaming “And you filthy wretches are going to obey our God,
          too!!!” (Acts 5:29)

          • Jeanine Schaefer

            29But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than
            men. 30″The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you had put to
            death by hanging Him on a cross. 31″He
            is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior,
            to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.…writing in your own words doesn’t count!

          • Bezukhov

            I didn’t write that line in. I saw that in a neighbor’s Bible. He’s one of those Christian Dominionists.

          • Jeanine Schaefer

            first YOUR Bible had it, THEN you saw it in a neighbors Bible, I copy pasted it directly. ANYONE can actually look it up and see that it DOESN’T say that.

          • Bezukhov

            A chronological update. I saw it first in my neighbor’s Bible. After asking him about it he gave me an extra copy he had . I think he was trying to convert me.

          • Jeanine Schaefer

            What EXACT translation and version is this?

            Bibles don’t just get “updated” easily. The
            MEANING must match that of the original manuscripts. if a new manuscript was truly discovered, it would be published across MANY of the modern Bible versions. There ARE several
            chronological Bible VERSIONS, which usually just means that they have either been put together with their books in a chronological order of when they were written, or include a chronological reading plan.

            The translations we have today are not the end of a long
            chain of translation. They are translated directly from Hebrew (O.T.) and Greek (N.T.) manuscripts. The translation process has, for the most part, produced improved modern Bibles in several ways.

            a) Better original texts from the science of textual
            criticism: By studying and comparing the many available Hebrew and Greek manuscripts, scholars are able to determine the original as ACCURATELY as possible. This has given us better Hebrew and Greek originals from which to translate into English.

            b) Better understanding: Recent scholarship has helped us to
            better understand various Bible terms in light of Bible culture.

            c) Better Readability: Modern translations put the Bible into
            a more readable form

            Translation – A translation is a rendering of the Bible in a
            language different than the one in which it was written. A translation is
            intended to be as literal as possible and still be easily read.

            Versions are the various translations of the Bible within one modern language.

            Version Revisions – Some modern versions could also be called
            “revisions” because they are largely based on a previous version which has been

            Paraphrase – A paraphrase is a less literal rendering of the
            Bible – restating the text to give the original sense but not attempting to literally translate each term in the original language.

            It is also true that some versions have misleading portions because they were done by a cult, ­for example-New World Translation.

            When I copy and pasted Acts 5:29, I also checked the NIV,
            NLT, ESV, Berean Standard Bible, Berean Literal Bible, NASB, KJB, Holman Christian Standard Bible, International Standard Bible, NET Bible, Aramaic Bible in Plain English, God’s Word translation, New American Standard 1977,Jubilee Bible 2000, King James 2000 Bible, American King James Version, American Standard Version, Douay-Rheims Bible, Darby Bible Translation, English Revised Version, Webster’s Bible Translation, Weymouth New Testament, World
            English Bible, Young’s Literal Translation, then after you said it was an
            “updated” chronological bible I checked the The Blue Letter Bible, KJV chronological, and even a UPVD which doesn’t actually HAVE a book of Acts!

            So again I would ask, which translation or version are you
            reading from?