Iowa voter’s fancy themselves above checks-and-balances

Iowa’s ousting of several state supreme court judges who ruled in favor of same-sex marriage is a scary day for those who believe an independent judiciary as essential to democracy.

And supporters of removing the judges for making legal decisions the some don’t like completely miss the whole point of having judges rule on constitutionality issues in the first place:

“I think it will send a message across the country that the power resides with the people,” Bob Vander Plaats, a Republican who led the campaign after losing the Republican nomination for governor, told a crowd of cheering supporters at an election night party peppered with red signs declaring “No Activist Judges.” “It’s we the people, not we the courts.”

One of the roles of judges is to protect the minority against the majority, who could strip them of their rights if it were put up to a vote.  In Iowa’s case, that’s essentially what happened.  Conservatives were able to remove judges, though a huge spending campaign funded largely by non-Iowans, who made a ruling based on the law that conservatives didn’t like. This is exactly why judges should not be chosen by election–because judges aren’t supposed to be beholden to the people, but to the law.

(Cross-posted to The Reaction)

Published in: on November 5, 2010 at 11:55 am  Comments (4)