Let’s hope that Judge Waddoups is not completely new to the whole “Sister Wives” business, because if he goes off the paperwork submitted by the Brown clan and lawyer Jonathan Turley on Monday, he will be led to believe that both Kody and Janelle are ‘the husband’ in this plural family. While some junior lawyer gets a slap on the wrist for this cut-and-paste howler, it does suggest that Janelle Brown could have paid a bit more attention to the statement she was signing. The Browns are ‘alternative’, but they are not that alternative!
Kody, Meri and Janelle have all filed affidavits in support of their case to prevent Utah officials from prosecuting them for polygamy, and in response to the officials’ attempt to get the case thrown out as they probably weren’t really going to prosecute them anyway. Consequently the Brown’s job is to emphasise the fear of police intervention they feel, and the impact of various officials labelling them as criminals anywhere but in a court.
So we get tales of panic whenever a police cruiser passes the house, the cost of fleeing Utah, losses of sales and employment following public identification as ‘presumptive offenders’, etc. I’m not belittling this – far from it – I’m sure that the labelling has many distressing effects – it just strikes me as bizarre that you need to go to such lengths to prove the impact of the state criminalising your lifestyle, so that it is bad enough for the court to bother dusting off the Constitution to check whether that’s OK. Is it not enough that the law is unconstitutional – is it not undignified for the state to run the argument that ‘it doesn’t matter if the law breaks the law, for we will defend our unlawful law by never using it against anyone likely to win’ – the ‘we will only kick you when you’re down’ approach?