They are neither nice nor frankly truthful. They are homophobic and largely fundogelicals who are intent of forcing everyone to obey their peculiar interpretation of Christian scripture.
In Iowa, Supreme Court Justices are chosen by the governor but face “re-election” on a regular basis thereafter. This system has worked well for a very long time. In fact the Contrarian, has as a matter of personal policy voted against “incumbent” judges for years, to no effect. Re-election, as is true most everywhere in the country, is virtually certain.
Not so this year. No the powers of hatred are at work in our fair state. And all because of one case.
In April of 2009, the Iowa Supreme Court, in a unanimous opinion, declared in Varnum et al v. Brien, that a state statute that limited marriage to a union between a man and woman, was unconstitutional, violating the equal protection clause of the state’s constitution, a clause modeled after the US Constitution found in the 14th Amendment.
In so doing, it caused an uproar among the right-wing fundogelicals and their agenda to make America, and all its states, follow their version of Judaeo-Christian morality, one that is not at all warranted by an objective view of either Constitution.
Bob Vander Plaats heads up the team that is trying to remove equal treatment for gays and lesbians in our state. He is the failed Rethuglian gubernatorial candidate, losing to Terry Branstad in the past nominating election. He is a staunch anti-gay advocate.
Ads are being run in Iowa, paid for Vander Plaats and his minions, claiming that our Justices, (three of whom are up for re-election) have voted “their own personal beliefs” and have thwarted the will of the people of Iowa, as expressed through the legislation that was overturned.
This of course, is anything but true. When is the last time that you were requested to pass judgment on a proposed piece of legislation before your representative or senator cast a vote? Most legislation is passed without any consultation of any kind, and reflects at best the desires of a couple of hundred individuals within a state who claim to speak for the three million whom they represent in some fashion.
In fact, recent polling in Iowa suggest that 44% of Iowans accept same-sex marriage as proper, up from about 30% before the decision. It is probably this same 44%, largely Democratic which claims it will vote to retain the current judges on the ballot. It is overwhelmingly Republicans who want the justices removed. and they comprise 40% of likely voters.
It is, as well, ludicrous to argue that all nine justices were personal proponents of same-sex marriage going in, and simply voted their personal ideology. That would be a coincidence in the extreme.
Worse, making a claim that Justices, or any judge sits for the purpose of following the current “will of the people” however determined, goes against everything that Judicial Review stands for and has stood for since the time of Marbury v Madison, the US Supreme Court’s first announcement that indeed the courts are the ultimate arbitrators of whether legislation passes constitutional muster.
Clearly people like Vander Plaats and the various anti-gay groups, those listed above as well as others like NOM (National Organization for Marriage), know better. They are not unaware of the job description of Justices in Iowa or throughout the land. They are aware that it is not the job of Justices to pass on “voter opinion,” in fact, they are everywhere to do exactly the opposite.
Justices are mandated to stand above the currents of the day, and decide as dispassionately as possible the constitutionality of various laws. Do they square with the actual words and implications of the Constitution and settled interpretations, or do they not?
As is rightly asserted, if Iowa chooses to ban marriage equality, then, it’s only recourse is to amend its own constitution. There are long in-place rules and procedures for accomplishing that. It is precisely because Vander Plaats and his bigots know that Iowans have no stomach for doing so that they are trying to slip this in through the back door by appealing to untruths about the job description of the Bench.
So far, studies done on the year-long marriage equality situation, indicate that the state has gained financially to the tune of 5.3 million dollars. I recall hearing of another study that showed that there were zero adverse effects from the ruling to date in any social way.
Ironically, all this has had an effect on the Contrarian. He intends to vote for the retention of the three Justices up for re-election. Unintended consequences there bigots! HA!
- Vander Plaats: Iowa voters likely won’t retain justices over same-sex marriage issue (gazetteonline.com)
- Former Supreme Court justice said effort to politicize judiciary is “unsettling” (thegazette.com)
- Push to remove ‘activist judges’ rocks the process (thegazette.com)
- How Sandra Day O’Connor got drawn into the gay-marriage debate in Iowa. (slate.com)
- “Politicizing Retention of Iowa Judges” and related posts (blogforiowa.com)