Posted: 3:29 pm Thursday, February 27th, 2014

Sam Olens: Non-defense of same-sex marriage bans is ‘lawless’ 

By Jim Galloway

062913 brooks HS06

Attorney General Sam Olens spoke to the Georgia chapter of the Faith and Freedom Coalition today. AJC file/Hyosub Shin, hshin@ajc.com

Gov. Nathan Deal was supposed to be at today’s gathering of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, with leader Ralph Reed in attendance, but he called in sick.

A spokesman said Deal is in the Governor’s Mansion resting, and has cancelled events for the rest of the day.

But the show went on – and we caught Sam Olens. The state attorney general told the audience that he was part of the audience in Washington this week when U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder that Olens and his peers were not obligated to defend local laws if they believed the laws violated the U.S. Constitution.

Democratic attorneys general in at least six states — Virginia, Pennsylvania, California, Illinois, Oregon and Nevada — have declined to defend same-sex-marriage bans that have been challenged in court by gay couples.

“That’s not only callous, it’s lawless,” Olens said. “I don’t have any fiat over what’s the law and what’s not the law in this state. And whether I like a bill they pass across the street or not, unless there is a solid legal basis that it is inherently and expressly unconstitutional, I have a duty to enforce it and defend it.”

Olens said it works the other way, too:

“The next time around you could have a Republican president, and an individual nominated by the Republican president, and if they choose, for instance, to disavow a defense of any bills passed in the first two years President Obama’s administration [in other words, the Affordable Care Act], that would be just as wrong.”

 

114 comments
Mustang100
Mustang100

Political ruling class and the moochers they enable vs. working class.

Kamchak
Kamchak

http://wonkette.com/542862/peggy-noonan-stares-into-her-highball-glass-wonders-what-is-becoming-of-america-guzzles-highball

" The political-media complex is bravely coming down on florists with unfashionable views. On twitter Thursday the freedom-fighter who tweets as @FriedrichHayek asked: “Can the government compel a Jewish baker to deliver a wedding cake on a Saturday? If not why not.” Why not indeed.

 Also, allow us to make the obvious point about the crucial difference between the Jewish baker and the nitwit wedding photographer who didn’t want to shoot a gay marriage, which is that the Jewish baker is not going to refuse to deliver a cake on Saturday while telling the customer that having any kind of a celebration on the Sabbath is an abhorrent sin in the eyes of God. He’s not going to condemn the unfortunate gentile’s entire lifestyle. He’s simply going to say, “Sorry, I don’t work Saturdays. I’ll deliver it to you on Friday instead so it will be there in plenty of time.” Because your average Jewish baker – and trust us on this one – is not a f*cking idiot".

AuntieChrist
AuntieChrist

I think Olens should get busy enforcing these laws, or else be impeached. The very idea that he is not going after these lawbreakers is outrageous. Or, as olens would saw, "it's just lawless!"


It is illegal to say "O Boy" in Jonesboro, Georgia.


Crazy laws in Georgia say it is illegal to cut off a chicken's head on Sundays, and also walk down the Broadway street with chickens held upside down by their feet. Additionally, it is illegal to eat a chicken with anything other than a persons hands.

- See more at: http://stupid-laws.laws.com/crazy-laws#sthash.pylRfC4j.dpuf

Mustang100
Mustang100

So THE US Attorney General advocates NOT enforcing laws if you don't agree with them? Falls in line with his NOT enforcing U.S. immigration laws and going after states who try to, or NOT enforcing U.S. laws prohibiting marijuana growth, sale, and use in the U.S., period, or NOT investigating the IRS perjury, Benghazi perjury, etc., etc., THAT list is a long one. That's why the Coalition of African American Pastors have an impeachment petition online against him. Bet you didn't read about THAT in the AJC, did you? The mainstream media and this administration are hand in hand the most corrupt in our history.

SouthGeorgiareader
SouthGeorgiareader

The Deal Comedy Club continues to draw in the best jokesters.  The Guv nor his jestors have a clue---they just continue to make ridiculous claims that are so obviously wrong---and not funny.

ByteMe
ByteMe

So why has he been sitting on his butt worrying about keeping me from getting health care instead of attacking the Patriot Act that really is taking away our liberties?

anothercomment
anothercomment

Olens is a big Hypocrite to every Jew. He so badly wants to be a politician that he sells out the very ideals of being Jewish and doing Mitvahs, to the Republicans in power.

FarTrain
FarTrain

The paradigm has now been completely reversed from 2-3 yrs. ago.  The gay activists and the liberal administration and judges have now become the bigots and hypocrites, based on wanting their rights and liberties but denying others theirs. Problem is they are naive and as blind as bats to this. It's a one-way street as long as they get their way.

hamiltonAZ
hamiltonAZ

The State's head lawyer knows that, many times, laws fall from favor before the legislature gets around to fixing them. The adultery statute was virtually ignored for years before it was repealed. By the time Georgia's sodomy law was struck down, it was rarely invoked.


Lawless? No. Fortunately, our system prefers slow change. It also was designed to contemplate discretion and common sense on the part of the powerful. Would the State's head lawyer say Sheriff Andy Taylor of Mayberry was lawless? He often made judgment calls on whether to haul someone in for an infraction.


We can still respect him, even with the fact of such hyperbole. But, the State's head lawyer knows.

PSWallace
PSWallace

At first glance, I see a conflict between an Attorney General cherry-picking which state law to defend and the ABA Model Standards of Professional Conduct. The attorney general has a client (the state), has an obligation to zealously represent the interests of his client (as the client sees them) if he accepts fees from the client, is recieving regular payments from the client, thus has not withdrawn from reprensentation of the client (since he is cashing the checks and has not agreed to a reduction in fees for the non-representation), and the case is not frivilous (may not necessarily win, but is not frivilous).

I think an Attorney General not wishing to defend a state law can withdraw from representation, but that means he needs to resign--if he is to stay within the canons of legal ethics as I understand them (which is not to the greatest degree possible).

MisterMikey
MisterMikey

It is estimated The Supremes will get several state marriage equality ban cases in the coming months, and that they will hand down a decision in June 2015.  Scalia has already said he can think of no legal way to keep marriage equality from happening.  This will upset bible thumpers for a few months, but eventually even they will come around.

tomkat1111
tomkat1111

Sam: Your guys refuse to enforce the immigration laws and you talk this sh#t wi

OldJacketFan
OldJacketFan

So Sam, per your own words...........


"And whether I like a bill they pass across the street or not, unless there is a solid legal basis that it is inherently and expressly unconstitutional, I have a duty to enforce it and defend it."

If you , in your professional opinion, find a  law is unconstitutional  then there is no duty of the AG to defend it. How does this differ from what the USAG is doing? Could it be because he's a democrat?

NWGAL
NWGAL

All of these legal battles are not free. If an AG has ample legal grounds to believe a law in his or her state violates the Constitution, why spend the tax payers money to defend it?

honested
honested

Remind me why it was I ever had any respect for Sam Olens?


He seemed like a nice enough guy, had a good environmental record, didn't appear to be an ABS-Crazy wrong-winger. So what happened?


The saddest excuse for an Attorney General in my lifetime.

AuntieChrist
AuntieChrist

And why isn't the lawless olens going after these miscreants:

Columbus, Georgia Laws

Selling, purchasing, eating, or distributing any type of "corn flake cereal" on Sundays could land you in the slammer.

All Native Americans are required to return to their side of the Chattahoochee River by night fall. Ouch.

Model planes are only allowed to be flown on personal property or at the county morgue. Weird.

Slingshots are completely outlawed here. Owning, selling, purchasing, or using one can result in big trouble.

Receiving or giving a tattoo on Sundays is against the law.

It is considered a crime to carve your name or anything else into a tree - even if that tree is on your personal property.

Athens-Clarke County, Georgia Laws

Any sort of concert or public musical performance is 100% illegal here.

Technically, it is illegal to fart or burp at the county fair.

Minors playing any sort of gaming system after 11 PM on a school night are breakin' the law.

Drinking beer while receiving a back rub or buying a sex toy is considered a crime. Can't have any fun!

Entertaining any individual between 2:45 AM and 7:00 AM is against the law.

All pet chickens must be kept on a leash at all times.

Drinking of any liquid on a school or city bus is punishable by a hefty fine.

Dublin, Georgia Laws

Motorized wheel chairs or power chairs are strictly prohibited from public school and parks. Seriously?

Wearing "tinted" sun glasses, a large hat, or a hood is illegal. Aren't all sun glasses tinted? Isn't that the point?

Don't attempt to feed the birds in Dublin any time soon, as it is a crime.

Anyone playing pass or catch on the sidewalk is committing a crime.

Marietta, Georgia Laws

Why did the chicken cross the road? I don't know, but it's illegal for chickens to cross any road in Marietta.

In order to legally spit from a moving vehicle, that vehicle must be a full-size truck.

http://www.idiotlaws.com


CuriousPrime
CuriousPrime

@Mustang100   1. Please have Issa explain why spending at least $4 million on each of the cited witchhunts (over $50 million total and counting) about those laws not being enforced, that he has not been able to bring one legitimate claim against the administration.


2. On the other hand, Issa did not spend one hearing about the 700+ (An administration not  enforcing laws) signing statements signed between 2001 and 2009,


3. Why the mainstream media is not covering the Coalition of African American Pastors (CAAP) impeachment petition?  It is because the GOP has failed after spending more than $100 million of taxpayer's money in the past five years on witchhunts trying to get rid of the Obama administration.  


4. There are 500 times more members of the Coalition of Concerned Black Clergy in Atlanta alone than the "National" CAAP, that is based in that den of sin Henderson (Las Vegas), NV, and the national mainstream media hasn't reported any of their partitions either.


5. There have been many really corrupt administrations based including, Grant, Harding, Nixon, Bush.  Funny, the conservative group Judicial Watch mentions a number of Democrats including Obama as being an corrupt politician, but they also list Boehner and Chambliss.  ROTFLMAO.

Joeleejohnson
Joeleejohnson

"NOT enforcing laws" is an epidemic with AG's on all levels. If you think this discretion should be the prerogative & job description of the various judges---Then you should see all the cases that 'die a natural death' for lack of movement.

honested
honested

@Mustang100  

You earned you teabagger star!

Somehow, you have included every lame-brained wrong wing talking point into another pointless nonsensical diatribe and unfortunately you probably believe what you posted.

Which gop Senatorial campaign do you work for?

AuntieChrist
AuntieChrist

@FarTrain
 Another rightie whining about his loss of freedom, denial if his rights, mean o' liberals bullying him. YAWN.

When you can actually name one right that has been abridged, or any freedom you've lost without due process, by all means let us know. That is, if you have the time between your efforts to deny a woman her right to privacy with her doctor, making it harder for a citizen to vote, denying human rights to people whose life styles aren't like yours, ensuring you can shoot someone with impunity who p!sses you off or scares you, and making sure indigents are turned away from emergency rooms.

CherokeeCounty
CherokeeCounty

You gotta be kidding.

The state of Georgia  tells gay people that they are not eligible for a state recognized lifetime committment to the person they love.  In a clear violation of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.

But, in your world, it's the gays who are denying others their rights and liberties, because somewhere in Oregon some baker didn't want to bake a cake for a gay couple???

Good luck with that argument, my friend.

hamiltonAZ
hamiltonAZ

"...zealously represent the interests of his client..."


If the client is the State of Georgia then the client is the citizenry. Its interests require the prioritization of resources. Sometimes that means pursuing one thing more than another. 

Place the following in the order you want them pursued.

- abused and neglected children

- medicaid fraud

- legal needs of the state's highway department

- consumer fraud

- criminal justice

- regulated industries

- gay marriage laws

- public safety

- business and finance



honested
honested

@MisterMikey  

I don't know about coming around.

They haven't ever accepted being wrong about integration, flouridated water, teaching evolution or that the sun is really the center of the universe.

The_Centrist
The_Centrist

????  Olens would enforce them, it is the Obama administration that is purposely ignoring them.

NorthAtlanta
NorthAtlanta

@OldJacketFan  

Olens is saying he has to enforce the law, whether he likes it or not.  Holder is saying the exact opposite.  Only the Supreme Court can decide constitutionality.

AuntieChrist
AuntieChrist

@NWGAL The repups have their mantra: Millions for defense (of unconstitutional laws), not one penny for Medicaid!

Charles50
Charles50

@honested  I agree with you.  When he was a Cobb County Commissioner he seemed to run a tight, but strong ship.  He wasn't so partisan.  Put him in the big leagues and then he turns into a right-wing nut.  It's really sad because I don't think many people respect him as much anymore.  I know I don't, and he'll never get my vote again. 

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@honested


Evidently, Sam Olens has felt the need to blend in with the ultraconservative power structure in Georgia.  As citizens, we must change power structure.


Vote Democratic, readers.

NWGAL
NWGAL

@AuntieChrist  Thank you for a really good chuckle. Laws get enacted to placate constituents or to help someone get elected. They aren't all created equally constitutionally.

GB101
GB101

@CherokeeCounty  Tell me this.  If the 14th Amendment mandates that states recognize a homosexual's lifetime commitment to the person he or she loves, does it also mandate that states recognize all persons' rights to a lifetime commitment to the persons they love? Plural.  Does the Constitution require recognition of polygamous marriages?  If not, please explain why not.  

GB101
GB101

@hamiltonAZ  Stop and think about this for a moment.  The constitutionality of the same sex marriage ban is being challenged.  The issue is whether the attorney general is required to defend the law.   To my knowledge no one has challenged the constitutionality of the laws against abusing children or laws against medicaid fraud or any of the other laws you mentioned.  If those challenges are made - rather unlikely, to say the least - I am sure Mr. Olens will defend them.

CuriousPrime
CuriousPrime

@The_Centrist  Just because the Obama is purposely ignoring the laws at the federal level, what is keeping Olens from enforcing them at the state level?

honested
honested

@The_Centrist  

He could arrest the Employers, seize their assets and auction them off to Citizens who will follow the law. 

Nobody is stopping him from doing that (although it would impact his donor base).

OldJacketFan
OldJacketFan

@The_Centrist  

And yet more illegal immigrants have been deported under the Obama administration that any other. Who'd thunk it? 

OldJacketFan
OldJacketFan

@NorthAtlanta @OldJacketFan 

Ol Sam's words are right there............."unless there is a solid legal basis..." The evaluation of the constitutionality of any given law is part and parcel of his office. Just as it is with the USAG's office, Add to that the state legislature on many, many occasions has asked the AG's office to render an opinion on the constitutionally of many pieces of proposed legislation. Sam's issue is he is on the opposite side of the USAG, it's real simple.  

GB101
GB101

@AuntieChrist @NWGAL  Georgia spends over one billion dollars per year on Medicaid.  This is just state funds.  The federal share is also paid by Georgia taxpayers.  Not one penny?  Hardly.  Billions.

AvailableName
AvailableName

@GB101 @honested @CherokeeCounty  So GB, Google Loving v. Virginia, read it a couple of times.  Maybe replace black/negro with gay in the text if you are feeling dangerous.  Then get back to us.

GB101
GB101

@honested @GB101 @CherokeeCounty  My question is not based on a legal precedent.  It is a question which naturally follows from Cherokee County's assertion.  If the 14th Amendment is read so as to mandate that states recognize the right a of person to marry another person that he or she loves, then on what basis can it be said to not to mandate that states recognize the right of persons plural to enter into contracts of marriage plural with other persons they love plural?  


This is a serious question.  if this is a CONSTITUTIONAL matter, and not a matter to be left to the judgement of the political branches, then how can the line be drawn at marriages between two persons?   The different set of circumstances you refer to (without explanation) are not of consequence if the constitution mandates it.  The very real conflicts you refer to (without listing them) do not matter if the constitution mandates.  If the constitution mandates it the argument is settled.  


Settled like freedom of the press.  That too creates conflicts (Pentagon papers is a good example) but that is just too bad, and we have to live with the conflicts, very real as they may be.    

honested
honested

@GB101 @CherokeeCounty 

What legal precedent do you base the question upon?

Polygamy presents an entirely different set of circumstances and establishes very real conflicts, which might explain why it is not legally recognized.

hamiltonAZ
hamiltonAZ

@GB101You're right. That explanation provides a more sensible context to the issue. There would still be priorities, and the interests would still be weighed, but, on some level he must represent the State's position.

Thank you for the polite response. It helped.

honested
honested

@OldJacketFan @honested@The_Centrist 

I criticize all elected leaders for ignoring the crimes of the funders of ALL political parties who violate immigration law and hire those not legally able to work often for far substandard wages, incomplete payroll tax collections and inadequate concern for health and safety of the workers.

The EMPLOYERS are now and always have been the problem.

Bosstone
Bosstone

@GatorJohnson  

Go back to your swamps Gator.  Care to back that up with any slice of reality?  Hispanics tend to go blue far, far more than red.  You have heard that the right has problems with minorities, no?  And, yes, Obama has deported more folks than his predecessors by a mile.  The "picking and choosing" is which ones he is deporting (the ones with criminal records...not the ones brought here as children).   

GatorJohnson
GatorJohnson

BHO's administration deported them, right, once it was determined that they might vote Republican,

OldJacketFan
OldJacketFan

@NorthAtlanta @OldJacketFan

As a died in the wool Jacket, thank you :-)

As to the distinction you're making I would say this. An AG has a duty to defend a constitutionally sound law and even though he disagrees with it. What you're suggesting of the USAG is that his refusal to defend challenges is without solid legal basis but simply a matter of his personal feelings. 

I had many issues with DOMA from its onset. Not the least of which that, in my opinion, is that it flies if the face of the 14th amendment. So far, every court in which is has been challenged has agreed with my reading.

NorthAtlanta
NorthAtlanta

@OldJacketFan @NorthAtlanta 

I agree with part of your statement.  Olens and the Office of the AG does have to make decisions on the ground, but they are based on precedent and case law.  I still believe that Olens is saying he enforces laws he may not like.  Holder basically admits he thinks it's okay to be selective with enforcement if you think the law offends your sensibilities.  Oh, and go Jackets!

NWGAL
NWGAL

@GB101 @AuntieChrist @NWGAL  Don't be dim, GB. You know she's referring to Medicaid expansion under ACA. But I'm sure half the elected Republicans in the state would like to cut every penny to Medicaid, except that going to family members.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@honested


Yes, it would, honested.  Unfortunately, have smelled that political "stink" for decades in Georgia. Even the smell of it, from a distance, offends because it is lacking in simply humanity toward all, imho. 


Again, vote Democratic, readers.  Not because the label is the Democratic Party, but because today's Democratic Party in Georgia is more progressive than it has ever previously been, and today's Democratic Party in Georgia is certainly much more progressive than today's Republican Party in Georgia.