FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 12, 2012
The Iowa State Bar Association responds to misleading information in Family Leader message
The Iowa State Bar Association issued a statement Sunday to correct misinformation contained in a quote by Bob Vander Plaats during a Saturday gathering organized by the Family Leader organization.
Vander Plaats was quoted as saying that the Iowa Supreme Court justices who ruled in the same-sex marriage case in 2009 went “outside of the constitution” and “outside your [their] separation of powers” and “amend [amended] “the constitution from the bench.”
The truth is Justice Wiggins and the other Iowa Supreme Court justices who ruled unanimously in the Varnum decision on same-sex marriage did not “go outside of the constitution.” Iowa’s constitution proclaims that all citizens are to be treated equally. The justices simply applied the equal protection clause of the constitution.
- The court and Justice Wiggins did not "amend the constitution from the bench." They applied the constitution. The constitution remains the same.
- Removing more justices will not change the law; only Iowa's legislature can do that by amending the state's constitution.
- Removing more justices will only serve to weaken our courts and deny individual freedoms and liberty.
“The courts are the final guardians of our freedom and liberty,” said ISBA President Cynthia Moser. “The scare tactics and misinformation being used by Mr. Vander Plaats do all Iowans a tremendous disservice."Iowans, even those who may disagree with a ruling, should reject efforts to further politicize our courts. Iowa judges should not be politicians who rule in return for votes.
"Bob Vander Plaats’ efforts to politicize justice in Iowa is good for no one, including those who may disagree with a court ruling," added Guy Cook, ISBA president-elect and chair of the association’s Fair and Impartial Courts Committee.We urge Iowans to become as knowledgeable as possible about Justice Wiggins and the other 73 judges up for retention in order to make an informed decision in the voting booth. Iowa’s courts consistently rank in the top five in the nation for being fair. Iowans have a reputation for being open-minded and fair. It would be a shame to throw away that record and that reputation.
The Iowa State Bar Association is a voluntary organization of more than 8,000 lawyers and judges who are licensed to practice law in the state of Iowa. Oldest of the voluntary bar associations in the country, The ISBA has been in continuous operation since its founding in 1874.