MISSISSIPPI: Dem Attorney General Jim Hood Might Not Appeal Anti-LGBT Laws Struck Down By Court

Mississippi News Now reports:

Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood says he doesn’t know if his office will appeal a federal judge’s ruling that blocked a state law dealing with religious objections to gay marriage.

Hood is the only Democrat in statewide office, and his staff had defended the law that was passed by the Republican-majority Legislature and signed by a Republican governor.

But, after U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves wrote a sharply worded order blocking the law, Hood said Friday that “the churchgoing public was duped” into thinking the law would protect religious freedoms.

Hood says an appeal could cost tens of thousands of dollars, and that might not be a good use of tax dollars when the state budget is tight and services such as mental health care are being cut.

From Hood’s press release:

“Our attorneys will evaluate this decision to determine whether or not to appeal all or parts of Thursday’s ruling. We do intend to appeal the Court’s decision earlier in the week to extend the injunction to cover circuit clerks, who were never parties to the case.

“I believe in the free exercise of religion and there will be a case in the future in which the U.S. Supreme Court will better define our religious rights. This case, however, is not that vehicle.

“In consideration of the individual rights of all our citizens, the state’s current budget crisis and the cost of appeal, I will have to think long and hard about spending taxpayer money to appeal the case against me. An appeal could cost the state hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“For example, North Carolina has set aside $500,000 for defense of its bathroom law. Even if we won and the injunction were set aside on appeal, the case would be remanded and proceed to trial over about two years.

“Because of the huge tax breaks handed out to big corporations by these same leaders, the state is throwing mentally ill patients out on the street. This is hardly protecting the least among us as Jesus directed.”

  • Will Parkinson

    😯

  • Michael

    That’s nice to hear, but I’m sure most JMG readers know by now that former Confederate states have independent Attorney General offices. Governor Bryant and the MS Legislature will authorize and fund appeals.

    • StillALiberal

      Kennedy voted with the majority in Obergerfell which reversed the Sixth Circuits ruling against same-sex marriage and he wrote the Majority opinion himself. Why on earth would he upheld a Fifth Circuit ruling that directly contradicts his own opinion ?

      • billbear1961

        You beat me to it!!

      • Michael

        Hmm… Ask Hobby Lobby

    • Tigernan Quinn

      “You queens.” You know, I was reading your words with interest, but now you can f*ck off.

    • Circ09

      Kennedy just bitch slapped the 5th circuit along with our liberal justices over Texas’ ridiculous abortion laws. I think it is likely he will do the same here.

      • billbear1961

        I saw an article that speculates that as he approaches the end of his judicial career, Kennedy may think the best thing to do, for the sake of his legacy, is to side more and more often with the liberals on the Court, especially on certain fundamentals considered essential to democracy (although, God knows, he was, often enough, an eager member of the Fascist Five during their infamous reign on this Court).

        There is also speculation that Thomas, sensing which way the wind is blowing, may resign in the near future.

        As long as a Democrat is the next POTUS, we may soon have a large and solid liberal majority on SCOTUS and on all the circuit courts, and more and more of the district courts, assuming the Democratic President has a Senate he or she can work with!!

        • That’s possible, but it’s also highly unlikely that Democrats could keep the Senate past 2018 (based on which seats are up for re-election that year).

          • billbear1961

            Then, we must do ALL the good we can WHILE we can!

            We must make sure the courts are progressive fortresses, ready to beat back all and any evil the GOP ever gets up to!

    • Adam King

      By the time your hypothetical scenario plays out, President Clinton will have appointed a progressive Justice and the 8-member court will be a memory.

    • NancyP

      Well yes, I am a female honorary opera queen….
      You are quite right about Write Your Senator. I don’t happen to live in one of the target states – but snail mail to any R senator is always a good idea, if only to remind him that there are non-wingnuts out there.

    • Silver Badger

      It sounds like the Vatican Gay Lobby is free. We’ll put them right on influencing the Senators you mentioned.
      Some gay men refer to themselves as a queen. Some do not and some consider it a mortal insult. To which group were you referring as “you queens”?
      There was some sense in your first two paragraphs, but you cast a shadow on your every word with the “you queens” bit.

    • Yes, but a ruling to uphold this law would overturn Romer v Evans. I don’t see Kennedy doing that based on his other decisions.

      I don’t know what influence we have to get Garland up for a vote. He will be confirmed if there’s a vote but I don’t know what else to do. Both my senators are Teavangelical loons but I emailed them anyway. (And then had to get off the email list they put me on. Ugh the shit they send out is hateful and awful.)

      • I’m not all that enthusiastic about Garland — he’s another one of Obama’s compromises, which have been uniformly terrible. I’d almost rather wait, hope we can flip the Senate and elect Clinton, and get a solid progressive.

        • I was fine with the nomination. That’s not the issue. The GOP is not going to budge and a filibuster won’t change anything because Republicans would be happy to let things grind to a halt. They don’t care if we deal with the Zika virus (which has already been found in the US) or take care of any other business before the end of the year.

          I do agree, however, that if Hillary wins in November that Obama should withdraw the nomination and let her choose whoever she wants. The Senate can confirm Garland or let the new president and Senate appoint/confirm in 2017.

    • You’re probably right about the 5th Circuit, but Kennedy has been one of the most LGBT-supportive members of the Court and authored the decisions that led to Obergefell — which overturned the 6th Circuit decision.

  • MB

    “This is hardly protecting the least among us ” (or loving one another as I have loved you.)

    Ya think ??!?!?

  • Lazycrockett

    Guess someone realized the amount of money it cost to lose at the SCOTUS.

  • AtticusP

    When Texas secedes, could they take Mississippi with them? Please.

    • Theodore Fenton

      And maybe Alabama and North Carolina?

      • Silver Badger

        And thus starts the Civil war. Texas can not be allowed to leave the Union. As much as most of us would like to see it go, it simply can’t happen. We certainly do live in interesting times.

        • 1) Not gonna happen. Business leaders in the state know that most of the big companies and federal contractors would relocate. They aren’t going to let that happen.

          2) The other red states can’t allow that. Without Texas there’s no math that get another Republican elected president in the foreseeable future.

          • Silver Badger

            I truly hope your correct on all counts.

  • bkmn

    Perhaps your office should be advising the legislature before they pass laws that will cost the state buttloads.

    • david fairfield

      Exactly correct.

    • The problem with that is that the legislature thinks they’re going to pull stuff like this and get away with it, because they have no clue that the rest of the country has entered the 21st century while they’re stuck in the early 19th.

  • WebSlinger

    This state has BIGGER issues to deal with…seriously BIGGER issues:

    Despite strong state standards, Mississippi students are not catching up to the rest of the nation, ranking last in a school performance evaluation released today. Education Week’s Quality Counts report puts Mississippi 51st among the states and Washington, D.C., in K-12 student achievement.

    Adult obesity rates, 1990 to 2014

    Rank State Adult Obesity Rate 2014

    Number 3 is Mississippi at 35.5%

    https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/65/40/7b/65407b7dc77da038ffe7090ed87c57b9.jpg

    • Michael

      You think MS cares about education??? LOL!

      They used to. Senator Cochran once did.

      • WebSlinger

        This is not my opinion but rather I shared from others…I agree that Mississippi has missed the boat on education and health care issues..

        • Michael

          Do you know what we WV Democrats call it? “Race to the bottom”

          • WebSlinger

            I know that phrase well…also West Virginia is in the same sinking boat when it comes to obesity…actually ahead of Mississippi

  • I think some of the readers are misunderstanding this story. He may *not* appeal. Given how dim his chances are, that’s a good thing.

    • Sporkfighter

      On the other hand, a Supreme Court victory requires a Supreme Court case.

      • UrsusArctos

        It might backfire with an even SCOTUS or a Trump appointment. The 5th Circuit is packed with Texan GOPers and toadies. So a reversal from there could stand for the Circuit (TX,MS,LA) or worse.

  • Tigernan Quinn

    They must know that an appeal would go to the SC and then we’d be rid of this religious freedom shit for good.

  • Octavio

    North Carolina has not put away $500.000 for fighting the Feds. NC has taken $500,000 and diverted it from education. That’s what Republicantards do. They steal from public services and expect the bloody baby jeezuss teach their kids and pay their teachers. Tough noogies.

    • Johnny Wyeknot

      News flash: they are taking the $500,00 from the state’s disaster relief fund. Time to whip up a hurricane or two?

      • Octavio

        Thank you. I happily stand corrected. So, even worse. When the next hurricane wipes out NC, even tougher tough noogies!

        • Circ09

          Several N.C. teachers did get themselves arrested this week protesting cuts to education. You are not far off.

          • Octavio

            Thanks. I vaguely remember sumpin’ about education getting shafted in NC.

          • david fairfield

            It’s part of this bill. And keeping minimum wage where it is for like the next ten years. It’s all nicely buried in all the hulabaloo of transgender bathrooms, right where they want it…

        • Circ09

          Naw, they will whine until the Feds step in to pay for the majority of it. Then drag their feet paying for their measly required portion.

          • billbear1961

            “Help us, oh, help us! We DEMAND you help us, vile, evil, tyrannical Federal Government!”

        • david fairfield

          NC has the fifth highest rate of occurrences for tornados. Enjoy frittering away half a million on hate, McCrory, cause you’re gonna see a lot of it when there is no $$ for for disaster victims.

  • j.martindale

    Instead of standing up for principles and enunciating clearly the Democratic or liberal position, people like Hood think they do better being weak tea Republicans. All this does is demoralize the Democrats base. STAND for something, assholes.

    • billbear1961

      They are particularly terrified to do that in that bastion of ugly hatefulness, the Deep South.

      His language really does suggest, though, that he’s preparing not to appeal (although I don’t understand this appeal of the injunction against letting clerks turn people away–he says THEY were “never parties to this case.” YES, they were–the hate law says if they have religious objections to giving a same-sex couple a marriage license, they may recuse themselves).

    • tristram

      I wish I shared your optimism about Cooper, but I can’t get there. McCrory was headed for defeat, but HB-2 was well-calculated to distract voters from his problems and rally low-info voters. And it’s working. Recent polls have them virtually tied – and that means McCrory is well ahead.

      • All the more reason to register voters and get them to the polls. I think if Clinton carries NC, Cooper will probably win too. This can happen but only if Democrats show up.

      • Ninja0980

        Same with Hagan and Tillis in 2014.
        I’m rooting for Cooper but won’t be shocked if he loses.

    • Gerry Fisher

      As best I can tell, he *is* speaking to the Democratic base in Mississippi. He can’t get too out in front of his constituents. (And for those more intelligent Mississippians, there’s an implicit, “You guys could have figured this out ahead of time. Since you didn’t, I’ll explain it to you.”

      • j.martindale

        What bothers me is that no one in some of these red states is verbalizing what is wrong with the popular thinking. There is NO challenge to the conventional “wisdom.” When that happens, nothing changes. The 50 state plan of Dean started to move things in the right direction. That needs to recur.

    • Ninja0980

      Not like most of the Democrats in MS are ahead of the Republicans in terms of many things.

    • kaydenpat

      To be honest, Mississippi is such a red state that I’m kind of surprised they have a Democratic AG. He probably feels that he has to play nice with Republicans just to stay in office. But I understand your point that Democrats should always support civil rights, regardless of how much that support may disadvantage them in red states.

  • billbear1961

    My GOD, I should HOPE you’d have better things to do than defend a law which CLEARLY violates both the 1st and 14th Amendments–this UGLY attack on BOTH the Establishment and Equal Protection Clauses–and is CLEARLY intended as a defiant and hateful SLAP at Obergefell.

    The Obergefell Five–for as long as they remain on SCOTUS–are unlikely to look upon it as anything but the gross INSULT to JUSTICE that it IS!!

    • Steverino

      *kiss*
      : )

      • billbear1961

        XO

        🙂

        • Marinda Surrett

          <.
          ✹★:✹★:✹★:✹★:✹★:✹★:✹★:✹★:✹★:✹★:✹★:✹★:✹★:✹★:✹★:✹★:✹★:✹★:✹★:✹★:✹★:✹★:✹★::::::!w204h:….,…..

      • William

        Careful, Claude is a ninja.

    • Balderdashing

      Could it be that a Mississippi elected official night recognize the inevitable and practice fiscal responsibility?? Acknowledging that the Constitution was framed to protect everyone would be icing on the cake.

  • Hue-Man

    Need money for an appeal? Impose a tax on churches!

    • billbear1961

      Especially as they and their henchmen are the ones pushing for an appeal to defend their HATE laws.

    • TampaZeke

      That’s actually a brilliant solution. Since they’re the ones pushing for this special privilege, let them finance it.

      • Hue-Man

        It’s Republican dogma – user pay!

      • Cboulder

        It would be nice if religious people would pay for all the special privileges they so routinely demand

      • UrsusArctos

        It’s the legislative leadership that has pushed this, as Tammy Rainey pointed out upthread. HB1523 was a sop to the low-info Teahadi folk to distract from the Kansas type moves they just made on taxation. Just like HR2 was a cover for NC GOPers to do all kinds of mischief while people were “protected” from transfolk. Some RWNJ Xian groups have worked with the lege to keep Gawd/Gunz/Gheys alive for fund raising.
        There are churches named as parties fighting HB1523.
        The Xian support for HB1523 can be found in VFWs, WalMarts, and casinos on Sunday – not churches.

        • TampaZeke

          That’s so very true. A couple years back I had to run up to K-Mart at 11 o’clock one Sunday morning. The man in front of me looked like he had just rolled out of bed (surprising, right?). The cashier finished his transaction and said, “Happy Holidays!”. The man went OFF on her. Yelling about his Christian values and the “reason for the season” bullshit. That was all I needed. I proceeded to completely humiliate the man in front of his god and everybody pointing out the fact that churches across the city were holding services while he was shopping at K-Mart and treating his neighbor like shit. This was a very loud “conversation”. By the time I was done the whole check-out area erupted in applause and the man walked out with his tail between his legs.

  • Blake J Butler

    Take them down kicking and screaming to get things done is what it’s going to have to take, along with other issues they need to be tending to instead of discriminating in name of religious beliefs, refusing to do your government job in name of your religious beliefs and still wanting to expect a salary for refusing to do your job.

    • billbear1961

      The locus of American evil, the country’s heart of darkness.

      • Silver Badger

        Or perhaps the cancer which needs strong chemo before it has to be excised.

      • TrollopeReader

        BillBear …. I flew my Canada Flag for you and yours today ! This flew on Parliament Hill !

        • billbear1961

          Cheers, TR!

          🙂

  • SCOTUS already ruled on this in Romer v. Evans. If they appeal they are wasting taxpayers’ money.

  • Michael

    If he doesn’t defend it, the radical anti-gay lobby will have his head on a platter. They don’t care if people die in the streets as long as the state promotes the evil anti-gay agenda! With that in mind, he’s a brave man if he says no.

    • Silver Badger

      The anti-gay lobby will have his head on a platter anyway. Or at least try to. He has little to lose by doing the right thing and refusing to defend hate.

    • lymis

      He’s a democrat. He could hand out free assault rifles covered in Velveeta and beer and he’d be a target for the anti-gay lobby, just for being a Democrat.

  • teeveedub

    “… the state budget is tight and services such as mental health care are being cut.”

    Those mental health dollars have plenty of uses in Mississippi. Let’s start with the governor.

  • m_lp_ql_m

    “the churchgoing public was duped”

    Um, I thought that was the whole point of church.

  • OSG

    Tax the churches and build some hospitals then.

  • TampaZeke

    Well at the very least he recognizes how unchristian they’re treating the mentally ill. Maybe someday someone in a position of power will realize how unchristian they’ve treated we LGBTQ Mississippians.

    • UrsusArctos

      Most of the vocal Xians aren’t interested in ACTING like Christians. They want to be VIEWED as Christians without doing any of the icky inconveniences like feeding the hungry, caring for the poor, or loving their neighbor.

      • “Old Testament Christians” — couldn’t find the Gospels if they had to because their heads are stuck so far up their Leviticus.

        • grada3784

          Besides, the Gospels are Jesus centered. Everyone knows Christians™ are all about St. Paul.

      • grada3784

        The phrase you’re looking for is “whited sepulchres”.

      • TampaZeke

        BINGO!

  • kaydenpat

    Wow. That’s a lot of money N.C. set aside to defend discrimination. Shame.

    • coram nobis

      They diverted that money from disaster funds, just as hurricane season is starting. Double shame.

      • Dreaming Vertebrate

        It would be a real shame if disaster hit. A “real” shame.

  • TampaZeke

    I got into an argument online with a Mississippi State Representative. He was arguing that he supported and voted for HB1523 because he wanted to, and I QUOTE, “stop certain classes of people from getting special rights”.

    I asked him, “What the HELL does HB1523 do if not give certain classes of people (Christians) special rights (to discriminate against people that no one else can discriminate against). I told him he needed to be more specific about which “certain people” HE wanted to block from what “special rights”. He proceeded to ignore my question and launch into name calling and insults instead. I kept embarrassing him in front of his constituents by calling out all of his lies with well documented facts. He didn’t appreciate it.

    • LovesIrony

      Yay, good job.

  • coram nobis

    The AG may have read the decision. Taking that on is a tall order.

    http://files.eqcf.org/cases/316-cv-00442-35/

  • Tammy Rainey

    Then Bryant will proceed without him and ADF will volunteer to defend the dumpster fire they wrote in the first place and lose in hilarious and entertaining fashion which will bring them to their ultimate goal – more fund-raising and political manipulation based on lies about activist judges.

    • UrsusArctos

      That could be a good thing. I’m hoping Philip Gunn overplays his hand and gets bitch slapped back to the last century. The money problems Hood is talking about are 100% Gunn’s doing and Gunn wanted to use HB1523 to distract from that.
      With the decision Judge Reeves wrote, Hood is well positioned to “protect churches from one another” and steal Gunn’s thunder. All those good Pentecostals know those idolatrous Catholics would do them in if they could. The Catholics know the hard shell Baptists think they’re all but cannibals. The black churches know all the above are not kindly disposed to them.
      So Hood gets to defend religion from other religions instead of teh Gheys and do right by the LGBTQ folks.

    • William

      Why not take a million dollars and set it on fire? They could make it a big event, with carnival rides and cotton candy. The yokels could ooh and aah over the blaze and have an evening of entertainment.

  • Rocco

    I don’t know which shocks me more, there’s a Caucasian Democrat in Mississippi, or that he somehow got elected to statewide office. Wow.

  • David Walker

    Personally, I like the way this guy is playing it. His staff goes along with the bill is kind of hard to take, but it’s a smart movie to appease the goobs. And now, he’s couching his possibility of not defending it in terms the same goobs allegedly believe.

    “Hood says an appeal could cost tens of thousands of dollars, and that might not be a good use of tax dollars when the state budget is tight and services such as mental health care are being cut.” What non-political office holding republican’t doesn’t understand the tax argument.

    “Because of the huge tax breaks handed out to big corporations by these same leaders, the state is throwing mentally ill patients out on the street. This is hardly protecting the least among us as Jesus directed.” If you’re going to use Jesus, remind the goobs of the words in red. I think Hood is playing this one right.

    • david fairfield

      But do any of them care about mental health issues? Or whether patients are relegated to the streets? Would they even know? I’m not sure what he could say in terms of a budget suffering as a result of fighting the evil gays…I just don’t think anyone cares in Mississippi. It seems, from all the hateful articles I have read that the most important thing for them is to perpetuate hate and spite. I read arguments from NC and there are rational thinkers there, trapped in McCrorys mad world, who are fighting his ridiculous bill. I just don’t see anything like that coming out of Mississippi. They may well be the ones who push this issue to a resolve (albeit in our favor, though they can’t see that) at The Supreme Court…

      • lymis

        They may not care about the mentally ill, but they may well care that the mentally ill will be out on the streets among them.

        • david fairfield

          They are so irrational that I’m not sure they would know!

      • David Walker

        Good points. I think what I like about it is that he knows his audience and talks their language…and doesn’t talk down to them. It’s an interesting approach.

  • DesertSun59

    ” “the churchgoing public was duped” into thinking the law would protect religious freedoms.”

    Um, that’s because they vote Republican every chance they get. The GOP’s job is to dupe you.

  • DesertSun59

    It’s amusing how the politicians in MS are so incredibly stupid that they had no idea that a similar bill in CO 20 years ago failed for the exact same reason. Anyone can Google Romer v. Evans.

    • TrollopeReader

      has Google arrived in Mississippi governmental offices?

    • lymis

      Thing is, it wasn’t the exact same reason, from a legal standpoint. The Supreme Court could have extended it to include any attempt to strip LGBT rights, but they shot it down primarily because it explicitly said that people couldn’t sue for redress, and because it specifically said that local jurisdictions couldn’t pass LGBT discrimination laws.

      The new generation of them tries to get around that by saying that local jurisdictions can’t pass anti-discrimination laws that are not the same as those at the state level, and they’re trying to ground them in first amendment religious guarantees. They won’t fly, and eventually, SCOTUS will have to address it – maybe by FINALLY recognizing that LGBT need the protection of heightened scrutiny that SCOTUS’s own standards clearly indicate we deserve.

      Sooner or later, one of these laws is going to be such an overreach that they’ll do that. Especially if these people keep clearly trying to pass these things for no reason other than to get around every SCOTUS ruling.

  • andrew

    And a light shines in the darkness.

  • Lindsaytbolden2

    <.
    ✹★:✹★:✹★:✹★:✹★:✹★:✹★:✹★:✹★:✹★:✹★:✹★:✹★:✹★:✹★:✹★:✹★:✹★:✹★:✹★:✹★:✹★:✹★::::::!w204h:….,……

  • TimJ

    The best part are his rather snide remarks about how the state cannot afford this stupid shit because state government gave away tax breaks.

  • Paul

    Translation: He’s hoping Hillary Clinton appoints him as a US Attorney for Mississippi in her administration.

    • UrsusArctos

      He’s out for governor and the GOP Speaker of the House who cooked up HB1523 is looking to run too. HB1523 was red meat for the Xian fundies/Y’all Queda folks to distract them from the legislature pulling a Brownback on taxes.

  • Baby Dave

    Mississippi exists to provide punchlines for bad jokes.

    No matter how awful things are wherever you happen to live, simply close your eyes and think of how much worse things would be if you lived in Mississippi.

    • coram nobis

      Seems like nothing ever comes to no good up on Choctaw Ridge.

  • Neely OHara

    Honey, ‘the churchgoing public has been duped’ for literally hundreds of years now — where ya been?

  • Piet

    I was surprised to see how close the two sides are in the poll at the link (top of the page) — 49% to 46%.

  • Michael

    Since 83% of LGBT Americans think ENDA is a federal law, “you queens” is appropriate.

  • glass

    Cutting mental health care only results in more religious nuts.