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  • The Iowa Judicial Retention Vote: An “In-State” Interest in Marriage

    In a statement that is as unseemly as the example of judicial activism that gave rise to their removal from office, three former Iowa Supreme Court justices are blaming “out-of-state interests” for their loss on Election Day.

    The evidence seems clear that the three judges who were not retained by Iowa voters lost their offices because of the unsupportable ruling they joined in April 2009 that invented a state constitutional right to same-sex marriage. Of the 74 Iowa judges statewide who were subject to retention votes last week, only Marsha Ternus, David Baker, and Michael Streit were removed—a fair indication that Iowa voters do not deplore an independent judiciary but only rogue judges who put on political garb and trample upon the constitutional role of the representative branches.

    Moreover, Iowa voters did not engage in this exercise as an empty gesture. Last Tuesday, they also elected a legislature and governor who are reportedly more amenable to moving a state constitutional amendment that will restore the definition of marriage that Iowans had always maintained until the judicial ukase of 2009. That amendment must be approved by two consecutive legislatures and then placed on the ballot for voter approval. This is a long-term process that is designed to protect the state constitution from impulsive and ill-advised amendments.

    The retention vote, in turn, allows Iowans to weigh in more or less promptly when it is the justices themselves who, through their rulings, engage in impulsive and ill-advised amendment of the state constitution’s meaning. Protecting marriage in Iowa proved to be very much an “in-state interest,” and that is what likely has the former justices’ robes in, well, a twist.

    Posted in Culture [slideshow_deploy]

    9 Responses to The Iowa Judicial Retention Vote: An “In-State” Interest in Marriage

    1. Chris, Tucson says:

      If everybody in Iowa would have read the actual decision (VARNUM v. BRIEN…) on the Iowa court's website, those justices would have been retained. The ruling is very thorough, systematic, logical, etc…I have yet to hear any criticism of the logic and application of the law used in the decision.

      Those voting against the justices simply wished to impose their own subjective moral will on others, no matter what the law and logic says to the contrary.

      Google the text of the ruling, read it, and see if you can logically refute it without resorting to referencing your religion or personal moral repulsion. $10 says you can't.

    2. Buck Crosby Hubert , says:

      Judges that go against the public will without legislative support are rogues and should be fired every time they rule against the citizens determinations , especially where on issues of moral turpitude .

    3. Dave, Cedar Rapids, says:

      I'll take your $10 now. The judges in this case flat out say in the ruling that they believe there is a changing definition of equal protection and that every generation defines it differently. This sort of equal protection was not what was meant when the clause was written. This sort of changing definition of words and concepts simply has no end and will serve to unravel the very purpose of the Constitution: an unchanging and consistent application of the intention of the law and of our rights.

      Even if we assume that this "generational definition" is OK then how about the generational definition that the Iowa Defense of Marriage Act provided? The Iowa Legislature & Governor in 1998 are more representative of this generation because of their numbers and because they were elected. But "reading" the mood and current definition that the people of Iowa wanted wasn't really what the judges wanted–they just wanted and excuse to define it differently themselves.

      We voted them out because they were in place to uphold the Iowa Constitution, not change the definition of "equal protection" to something never intended. We have a retention vote in Iowa for the very same purpose that the Governor has a veto and the Legislature can override a veto, to check the power of the other branches—here the people were that check.

      Sorry I didn't cite my religion or moral repulsion.

    4. Lynn Bryant DeSpain says:

      All States Citizens should be allowed the right to vote all Judges, including Federal , in or out of office, based on their own findings of how well the Constitution is defended.

    5. Robert says:

      The decision of a mockery of the Constitution and judicial interpretation. The exercise of logic alone does not vest in judges legislative powers or for that matter to assault an institution several thousand years old and "logically" held to be the foundation of Western and Eastern Civilization.

    6. doug, Iowa says:

      Iowa's values are not reflected by the decision of the 3 ousted judges. Marriage is a holy sacrament between a man and a woman and anything contrary is perversion. If you choose homosexuality, fine, that is your choice and this is a free country (for now, anyway). But do not call it marriage because honestly it is not. I have read the ruling and made my retention vote based on that. It was a rouge and ill conceived ruling that made a lot of Iowan's downright sick – thus we now have three unemployed judges.

    7. W. Colborne Mullen says:

      To Chris, Tucson,

      I am baffled, by your failure, to note, the fact, that majority rule means just that. Most ciizens are not willing, to change the status, or description, of marriage. I believe you could find another country more suitable, for you, to move. Please stop trying, to force a minority opinion, on others.

    8. David Weronski, Buff says:

      It is critical that our law makers return to the basic principles that made this country great! While liberals want pull this country in a direction that most people do not desire we can hope that this past election sends a clear message, we as conservatives are paying attention to the socialist ideas that are being presented to us.

    9. Jack, Indiana says:

      To Chris, Tucson,

      "The ruling is very thorough, systematic, logical, etc"…. does not make good law nor sound public policy. Roe v Wade is a prime example where a decision may have been "thorough, systematic, logical, etc." while millions of unborn babies have not seen the light of day and millions more suffer from the scares of those decisions. Our current case law is based on precedence, and errors in judicial judgement simply creates bad law upon bad law. We, the people, still prevails in America.

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