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Chief Justice warns Iowa lawmakers about threat to Courts

January 13, 2011

Iowa Supreme Court


Honestly, if the conservative right strong arm the justices out of their chair, and vote to overturn gay marriage in Iowa, I’m first in line with a class action lawsuit.  I think I’d have a chance!

Iowa Supreme Court Justice Mark Cady warned lawmakers today that attacks on the judiciary based on misunderstandings poses a threat to the checks-and-balances system that protects individual rights.

The new chief justice repeated arguments that judges serve the law, and not political constituents, in his first address to a joint session of the General Assembly. He promised a new push for openness in light of the publicity generated from the court’s 2009 decision to allow same-sex marriage, and the high-profile campaign that helped remove three of his colleagues from the bench.

Cady’s speech to a joint session of the General assembly focused on budget shortages – a persistent problem in recent years – and the role of the state courts in light of political attacks. Three freshman Republican lawmakers have said they will try to impeach Cady and the three others who remain on the bench: Justices Daryl Hecht, Brent Appel and David Wiggins.

Cady briefly addressed the gay marriage decision, Varnum v. Brien, which overturned the state’s one-man, one-woman marriage law and allowed same-sex couples to wed. He said the justices “worked hard to author a written decision to fully explain our reasoning to all Iowans, and we understand how Iowans could reach differing opinions about this decision.”

“This discourse is not new for Iowa, although I doubt it has ever been so strong,” Cady said. “Our court has, many times in the past, decided cases involving civil rights that were quite controversial at the time. Yet, over time, those cases have become a celebrated part of our proud and rich Iowa history of equality for all.”

via Chief Justice warns Iowa lawmakers about threat to checks and balances | Des Moines Register Staff Blogs.