Some SCOLA justices ain’t cool with the gay marriage thing

by Walter Pierce

Justice Jeanette Theriot Knoll

Don’t expect to see Jeannette Theriot Knoll, an associate justice on the Louisiana Supreme Court for nearly 20 years, at Adam and Steve’s Big Gay Wedding any time soon.

A Baton Rouge native and resident of Avoyelles Parish — her husband Jerold is the district attorney there — Knoll offered a scathing dissent to the Supreme Court of Louisiana’s dismissal of state Attorney General Buddy Caldwell’s appeal of Lafayette district court Judge Ed Rubin’s ruling last fall that gay-marriage is a constitutional right.

Knoll was having none of it, writing in part:

I concur because I am constrained to follow the rule of law set for by a majority of nine lawyers appointed to the United States Supreme Court ...

... I write separately to express my views concerning the horrific impact these five lawyers have made on the democratic rights of the American people to define marriage and the rights stemming by operation of law therefrom. It is a complete and unnecessary insult to the people of Louisiana who voted on this very issue.

... It is a sad day in America when five lawyers beholden to none and appointed for life can rob the people of their democratic process, forcing so-called civil liberties regarding who can marry on all Americans when the issue was decided by the states as solemn expressions of the will of the people. I wholeheartedly disagree and find that, rather than a triumph of constitutionalism, the opinion of these five lawyers is an utter travesty as is my constrained adherence to their “law of the land” enacted not by the will of the American people but by five judicial activists.

In Knoll’s defense, she does mention in her dissent that she has “many friends in same-sex relationships” — or, she used to — much, we imagine, like late Sen. Strom Thurmond had black friends.

Notice how Knoll reduces the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court — the highest court in the country and a position to which no doubt a majority of wide-eyed, idealistic law students aspire — to being merely “lawyers.” And aren’t judges “judicial activists” only when we disagree with their rulings? It’s hard to imagine the Koch brothers applying that label to the Supreme Court after the Citizens United ruling.

Judge Rubin’s case originally involved whether a partner of a lesbian couple legally married in California could legally adopt her spouse’s biological child. Rubin broadened his ruling to cover same-sex marriage in general and Caldwell appealed to the SCOLA, which dismissed the appeal in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 26 ruling striking down gay-marriage bans nationwide.

Not to be outdone, SCOLA Associate Justice Jefferson D. Hughes III — could that middle initial stand for Davis by any chance? — suggested without explicitly saying in his two-paragraph dissent that gay couples who adopt children of the same gender are possibly, maybe, potentially pedophiles: “The most troubling prospect of same-sex marriage is the adoption by same-sex partners of a young child of the same sex.”


Read the SCOLA opinion and dissents here.