On his radio program Wednesday, “The Big Voice on the Right” Rush Limbaugh weighed in on the controversy surrounding the Dallas salon owner who was slapped with seven days in jail for defying the state’s “stay-at-home” order because, as she put during her hearing Tuesday, “Feeding my kids is not selfish.” The case is much more significant than one isolated ruling, Limbaugh suggested.
Limbaugh led into his discussion of the case by presenting salon owner Shelley Luther’s now famous statement to the judge during her hearing Tuesday.
“Judge, I would like to say that I have much respect for this court and laws, and that I’ve never been in this position before. And it’s not someplace that I want to be,” Luther told Dallas County Judge Eric V. Moyé, the “lifelong Democrat,” during a hearing Tuesday over her defiance of the shutdown order. “But I have to disagree with you, sir, when you say that I’m ‘selfish,’ because feeding my kids is not selfish. I have hairstylists that are going hungry because they’d rather feed their kids. So, sir, if you think the law is more important than kids getting fed, then please go ahead with your decision. But I am not gonna shut the salon.”
“The defiance of the court’s order was open, flagrant and intentional,” Judge Moyé declared. “The defendants, although having been given an opportunity to do so, have expressed no contrition, remorse or regret for their contemptuous action.”
The situation, said Limbaugh, is evidence of how quickly people in power will abuse that power given the opportunity. Luther’s decision to “fly in [officials’] faces” and the overzealous response of the judge, Rush suggested, has highlighted this fact in a way that all of America can understand in plain terms.
“She literally was arrested for opening her salon because she and her stylists are having a hard time buying food,” said Rush. “They don’t have any money. They need to get back to work. They didn’t demand that some government fix the problem. They didn’t demand a handout. They didn’t demand some paycheck protection plan or some other form of assistance. They went out and solved the problem as they have been taught, as they lived, as they were raised. They went back to work — and, for that, she’s sentenced to a week in jail.”
The jailing of Luther, the host said, is likely being “replicated” all over the country in all kinds of forms, and it demonstrates the truly precarious nature of maintaining a free society as established in the Constitution. How quickly officials have felt empowered to abuse their authority during this crisis, said Limbaugh, suggests that the Constitution’s check on power is losing its grip on our political leadership.
“Folks, this is a tinderbox situation that is, I fear, being replicated in many parts of this country where these authoritarians are,” said Limbaugh. “You know, all politicians have a craving for power. It is a miracle the United States Constitution still rules the roost. It is an abject miracle. It’s a just a piece of paper. It’s just a series of pieces of paper with words on it.”
“It is amazing that after 200-plus years, everybody we’ve elected has decided to subordinate themselves and their power, their desires to it,” he continued. “I fear that’s coming to a change. I think some of these blue state governors and so forth are so infatuated with this new power that have had found that the natural authoritative tendencies that people in politics have…”
As The Daily Wire reported, Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick announced on Wednesday that he will pay the $7,000 fine Dallas authorities gave to Luther and volunteered to serve her 7-day jail sentence in her stead so she could go back to work.
Patrick’s announcement followed Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton slamming Judge Moyé for a “shameful abuse of judicial discretion.”
“I find it outrageous and out of touch that during this national pandemic, a judge, in a county that actually released hardened criminals for fear of contracting COVID-19, would jail a mother for operating her hair salon in an attempt to put food on her family’s table,” said Paxton in a statement Wednesday. “The trial judge did not need to lock up Shelley Luther. His order is a shameful abuse of judicial discretion, which seems like another political stunt in Dallas. He should release Ms. Luther immediately.”
Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott agreed with Paxton. “I join the Attorney General in disagreeing with the excessive action by the Dallas Judge, putting Shelley Luther in jail for seven days,” the governor said in a statement Wednesday. “As I have made clear through prior pronouncements, jailing Texans for non-compliance with executive orders should always be the last available option. Compliance with executive orders during this pandemic is important to ensure public safety; however, surely there are less restrictive means to achieving that goal than jailing a Texas mother.”
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