The next Kim Davis has already come and gone.
As the Courier-Journal reported on Tuesday, the Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission, by a unanimous vote of 5-0, found family court Judge W. Mitchell Nance guilty of judicial misconduct for refusing to hear same-sex adoption cases—a decision that briefly thrust Nance into the national spotlight back in April.
“The Kentucky code of Judicial Conduct requires Judges to fairly and impartially decide cases according to the law,” the Judicial Conduct Commission wrote in their reprimand, made public earlier this week. “Judge Nance’s refusal to hear and decide adoption cases involving homosexuals is violative of said Canons.”
The reprimand from the Judicial Conduct Commission comes just days after the December 16th retirement date Nance set for himself back in late October, when he penned his resignation as the Judicial Conduct Commission investigated his misconduct. Because Nance was retiring anyway, the Judicial Conduct Commission decided that a “public reprimand” was both “warranted” and “the only public sanction available.”
Nance’s attorney, Bryan Beauman, told The Daily Beast that the Judge “does not have any comment on the matter.”
Throughout this entire episode, the parallels between Nance and Davis, the Rowan County Clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples in 2015, have been obvious: Both Nance and Davis are Kentuckians who cited religious beliefs to refuse some sort of government service to LGBTpeople.
Indeed, when Nance first drew outrage for disqualifying himself from same-sex adoption cases because, in his words, there would be “no circumstance” in which “the best interest of the child [would] be promoted by the adoption by a practicing homosexual,” the Courier-Journal wrote that Nance was “echoing the case [of Davis.]”