The Supreme Court on Monday rejected an appeal by Kim Davis, the former Kentucky court clerk who was jailed in 2015 after refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. But in a four-page opinion about the case, Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito took the opportunity to make a jaw-dropping rant against the Supreme Court’s landmark Obergefell v. Hodges—the decision legalizing same-sex marriage, which they said threatens religious liberty. “This petition provides a stark reminder of the consequences of Obergefell,” Thomas wrote for the pair, adding that they agreed with the decision not to hear the case because Davis’ appeal didn’t “cleanly present” the key issues. However, “by choosing to privilege a novel constitutional right over the religious liberty interests explicitly protected in the First Amendment, and by doing so undemocratically, the court has created a problem that only it can fix,” the opinion states.
In 2015, Davis said she refused to issue marriage licenses because as a Christian she had a religion objection to same-sex marriage. Her refusal garnered national attention and several lawsuits, ultimately prompting a judge to order Davis to issue licenses—and resulted in five days in jail when she again refused. Davis had argued that the legal doctrine, qualified immunity, protected her from being sued for damages by two gay couples.