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11/04/2010

A co-[opted] brand of government

by Jeremy Hooper

Fundamentally changing the court's role in civil rights history. That is exactly what the anti-gay "Iowa For Mob Rule" "Iowa For Freedom" coalition wants:

“What is so disturbing about this is that it really might cause judges in the future to be less willing to protect minorities out of fear that they might be voted out of office,” said Erwin Chemerinsky, the dean of the University of California, Irvine, School of Law. “Something like this really does chill other judges.”
...
From its first decision in 1839, the Iowa Supreme Court demonstrated a willingness to push ahead of public opinion on matters of minority rights, ruling against slavery, school segregation and discrimination decades before the national mood shifted toward racial equality.

That legacy was cited in liberal corners here last year when the seven-member court voted unanimously to strike down a law defining marriage as between a man and a woman, making the state the first in the Midwest to permit same-sex marriage.

But the risk of leapfrogging — or ignoring — public opinion on controversial issues was brought into sharp relief Tuesday when voters chose to remove all three justices who were on the ballot seeking new terms.

FULL PIECE: Ouster of Iowa Judges Sends Signal to Bench [New York Times]

And once again, something that is a non-negotiable (judicial independence that's duty-bound to the constitution and not faith-based, partisan politics) is being turned into a two-sided conversation. A conversation between a court that always strives to do what's right and fair vs. a syndicated television court where certain special interest groups lower the ratings because of their personal preference for "The 700 Club."

It was a fun experiment while it lasted, this American justice thing.

***

*SEE ALSO: Our complete Iowa For Freedom Archive

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