In a historic vote last night, three Iowa Supreme Court justices were ousted as a result of a controversial decision made by the court last year in Varnum v. Brien. The Iowa Supreme Court unanimously upheld that the statute defining marriage only as a union between a man and a woman violated the equal protection clause in the Iowa constitution. Three of the Supreme Court justices were up for retention last night and all three lost.
So where does that leave our judiciary? As I said in my last post, I think this could have a substantial negative impact on our judiciary because of the influence of special interests (i.e. big money) on the independence of our judiciary. More than ever, we will need courageous judges who are willing to make decisions that are not always going to be popular. History is replete with occasions where the majority rule was not always right. Judges should not be forced to take opinion polls before deciding a case.
As I have indicated before, our Iowa judiciary has a reputation for fairness. I don’t expect that to change overnight. I just hope Iowa voters haven’t cut off their nose to spite their face.