I am too upset to summarize the facts of the case or even choose a link from this google search, but I think that Judge Randall Rogers has just launched an assault not only on the US Constitution but on any limit on his power whatsoever. I think it is vitally important that we resist his declaration of absolute power by all legal means.
I am not a lawyer, but I think that the sentence is not merely stupid. I think it is a direct assault on the US constitution including the 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and, of course 14th amendments. Angry bears who are actual lawyers are authorized to delete this post if it is an embarrassment to the blog.
First it seems to me to be obvious that if a judge is allowed to sentence someone to copy from the Bible, then Christinity has been established as a state religion (or Judaism if copying only from the old testament is allowed). I think that, if this sentence is allowed to stand, that there is no logical basis for any limit of the power of judges to impose the practice of the judges preferred religion on penalty of incarceration.
Second, imposing marriage is plainly a violation of the 4th amendment right to privacy as currently interpreted. Notably there is no basis for limiting this power to cases in which the alternative sentence is 15 days in jail not say life without parole. Nor does the judge have any authority to decide who should marry whom. In this case, he kindly ordered boyfriend and girlfriend to marry, but I see no logical basis to limit judges powers to compel marriage to such cases. He could have told the defendant to marry a woman chosen at random or to, gasp, compel the defendant (under threat of incarceration) to marry another man. I think that if the sentence is allowed to stand, forced gay marriage will no longer be a joke. I see no reason why the precedent if allowed to stand, doesn’t give a judge to order one man to marry another on the grounds that he, the judge, thinks it would be good for them.
But finally, the sentence is imposed on Elizabeth Jaynes as well as Josten Bundy — if he must marry her she is compelled to marry him. Jaynes was not a defendent and not accused or suspected of any misdeed. The judge presumes to have authority over her life choices. He threatened to lock up her boyfriend. The gross assault on the constitution would be achieved even if the judge had not specifically expressed his intention to cause Bundy to be fired if he didn’t obey (by not granting him permission to inform his employer that his absense from work was due to the outrageous misconduct of a judge).
I think that Jaynes can sue to have the sentence overturned on the grounds that she is being punished without any trace of anything like an indictment (amendment 5) without a trial (5) assistance of an attorney (6) and is deprived of something worth more than $20 dollars without a trial (7th).
I can’t imagine that even a Texas court (other than the one in question) could find a way to reject that appeal.
here I note that the bit in the 5th about grand juries has not, until now, been considered to apply to state courts. However, extreme cases make bad law. I do not think the relevant precedents must be overturned as the current case is so utterly outrageously extreme that it can be assumed that it was not imagined in the worst nightmares of the Supreme Court justices who decided that that clause (alone in the bill of rights) was not imposed on state courts too via the 14th amendment.
I think that it would be good for the Constitution and the country if Bundy and Jaynes seperately sought relief (if they don’t get it in Texas, I can’t imagine how even the Roberts court could deny it).
The alternative is to abandon not only the bill or rights but all limits whatsoever on the absulute tyrannical power of judges. If a judge can do this, what can’t a judge do ? Would there be any logical basis for any limit at all on judges other than their judgement of what is good ?
I also think the judge Rogers should be impeached for gross misconduct (I don’t know about Texas judges but federal judges can be impeached for misconduct short of a crime unlike all other federal employees). I also think he should be disbarred.
Finally I think all those not ready to bow down to the absolute power of each and every judge should contribute to two separate legal defence funds one for Bundy and one for Jaynes.