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Tags court decisions , gay marriage , Iowa politics , judicial activism charges

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Old 2nd September 2007, 09:19 PM   #41
Brown
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Just a reminder: The decision can be found here.

The Iowa Constitution provides: "(N)o person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law." In addition to a Due Process Provision, the Iowa Constitution has an Equal Protection provision. Although these provisions parallel the U.S. Consititution, Iowa is not obligated to follow U.S. Consititutional jurisprudence when deciding questions under its own constitution. Iowa can (and does) look to federal cases for guidance, however.

In both Iowa and Federal law, a key inquiry is whether a law affects a "fundamental right." If the right is "fundamental," the law affecting it must be viewed with the elevated degrees of scrutiny. Freedom of expression is a fundamental right. Voting is a fundamental right.

And the right to marry is a fundamental right.

By Iowa law, it is a right allowed to some, but denied to others.

Laws have to be supported by reasons. When the law impinges upon a fundamental right, the reason has to be a damn good one. But in light of the facts set forth earlier in the ruling, where is the reason? Personal opinion won't cut it, nor will conclusory assertions that aren't backed up with empirical studies. If the state is going to grant certain rights to one group but deny those same rights to another group that is similarly situated, the state must have a compelling reason for this discrimination.

The County Recorder listed five reasons to ban gay marriage (p. 50). Judge Hanson not only found the reasons uncompelling, he found them so lame that they wouldn't support the marriage ban even if there were no fundamental right at stake. One of the supposed governmental interests, that of promoting traditional marriage for its own sake, was not deemed to be a legitimate governmental interest at all.

To the extent that the proffered reasons were legitimate on their face, they were insufficient to justify the discrimination, in Judge Hanson's view, because they were unsupported by evidence. In this thread and this thread, I discuss the concept of "legislative factfinding," a process in which the legislature can "find" as fact things that are clearly at odds with the weight of the evidence. If the judge were "legislating," he could engage in the same shady and often dishonest practice. But because he's acting as a judge, he has to base his decision on evidence. And in this case, the evidence was not only overwhelming, it was basically one-sided. (This is perhaps a credit to the Assistant Polk County Attorney, who apparently argued the case zealously but who refused to go "into the gutter" by branding all homosexuals as evil people per se, unfit parents or sick deviants.)

One of the proposed governmental interests behind keeping gays from marrying is what Judge Hanson called "responsible procreation." Yet there was no record supporting any conclusion that homosexuals as a group were irresponsible. On the contrary, the undisputed facts were that homosexuals could be good parents. Moreover, heterosexuals were allowed to marry even if they didn't (or couldn't) procreate.

The other principal governmental interest is "conserving state and private resources." Judge Hanson gives this argument short shrift, but on a surprisingly technical basis. The issue could be swiftly handled on its merits, but Judge Hanson rules that the Defendant has failed to meet an evidentiary standard (which may indeed be the case, as this ground has far less appeal than the "responsible procreation" grounds).

In the end, Judge Hanson determined that both the Due Process and Equal Protection provisions of the Iowa Constitution were violated.

Now, will this opinion hold up on appeal?

First, consider the composition of the seven-member Iowa Supreme Court. The Court has long resisted meaningless labels as a "liberal" or "conservative" court, but one who knows the justices can easily find more than four justices who would be inclined to consider the striking down the statute, and all of them would give the issue serious consideration. In addition, all of them would be impressed by the work that Judge Hanson put into his ruling.

Second, there is a weakness in Judge Hanson's ruling, namely, he decided the issue on summary judgment. It can be difficult to defend summary judgments on appeal because any dispute as to any material fact is supposed to preclude summary judgment. If there's a dispute as to any material fact, then the issue has to go to trial for resolution. The Iowa Supreme Court could, and perhaps would, vacate the ruling on technical grounds, saying that there was a disputed issue of material fact. This wouldn't be the same as saying that Judge Hanson was wrong, but it would postpone the effective date of the ruling for perhaps a year or two.
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Old 2nd September 2007, 09:29 PM   #42
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Here's a link to a follow-up in the Des Moines Register. Please note that this is a "column," not an "article"; it is supposed to have doses of opinion and observation in it.
Quote:
The ruling now, apparently, will be up to the Iowa Supreme Court. God, meanwhile, still believes marriage should be between one man and one woman. At least that's what almost all the churches say, including Robert Hanson's church, West Des Moines United Methodist.

I hate to disappoint anyone, but it wouldn't be fair to call Hanson a godless secular humanist. Or even a garden-variety secular humanist.

"I understand that he's an active, devout layperson in his church," said Gregory Palmer, the resident bishop of the Iowa Area United Methodist Church. "There are nominal United Methodists, but I don't believe the judge fits that description."
The church says homosexuals shouldn't be allowed to marry. And Judge Hanson is an active member of that church.

But Judge Hanson placed his duty as a judge ahead of church teachings. When push came to shove, church teachings aren't evidence. And Judge Hanson was wearing the robes of a judge, not the robes of a clergyman.

It is somewhat refreshing to hear that the church bishop still regards the Judge as a "good Methodist" and is proud that he is a member.
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Old 2nd September 2007, 09:48 PM   #43
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But Judge Hanson placed his duty as a judge ahead of church teachings. When push came to shove, church teachings aren't evidence. And Judge Hanson was wearing the robes of a judge, not the robes of a clergyman.
Good, good, good man.

As for the argument that marriage is for making kids, it's so silly I can't even begin to fathom it. First of all, as you said, there's the fact that sterile people and couples not interested in having kids being entitled to marry without receiving flak from the bigots. Secondly, there's the fact that there exists in every country a number of orphans, or kids of parents unfit to care for them. If everyone's going to make kids and no one's going to take care of the existing ones, what do we do with those without good parents? Do we just leave them to rot in orphanages?

I do believe, actually, that the fact that gays and lesbians can't have kids together is one of the main reasons to support gay marriage. The couples, unless they procreate through artificial means, adopt kids from orphanages and give them good, caring homes to live in.
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Old 2nd September 2007, 09:58 PM   #44
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Here's a link to a story about presidential candidates, many of them traipsing through Iowa, commenting upon the ruling. Anybody want to make a bet that NO ONE of them has read it or made the first effort to understand it or dissect it?

Mitt ("Mitt, Mitt, full of grit!") Romney: "The ruling in Iowa ... is another example of an activist court and unelected judges trying to redefine marriage and disregard the will of the people as expressed through Iowa's Defense of Marriage Act." Oh, pardon me, Mitt, but perhaps you can enlighten us on other "activist" rulings, especially from Iowa? Or perhaps you'd care to comment on the fact that while Iowa judges are appointed they stand with their names on the ballot for retention during elections, and thus can be rejected by voters? (Indeed, the electorate booted out a judge as recently as 1998.) And maybe before you'd go off on the "will of the people," you'd check and see what a majority of Iowans actually think?

John ("This candidacy will self-destruct in ten weeks") McCain: The ruling is "a loss for the traditional family." REALLY? What, pray tell, have heterosexuals "lost?" McCain bounded from one non sequitur to another: "The ruling of the court only reinforces my belief that we must have a president who is committed to appointing strict constructionists to the bench." But Senator, this was a STATE issue, decided under the STATE constitution (as anyone who read the ruling would know). Remember when Republicans used to be really big on something they called "states' rights?" Besides, what makes you think that this opinion WASN'T a strict constructionist opinion? As anyone who read the ruling would know, Judge Hanson relied upon text and precedent, and did not pull any new rights out of thin air. Pray, Senator, enlighten us with your wisdom.

Sam ("Dumber than George W. Bush, if such a thing is possible") Brownback: "This decision shows how important it is to elect leaders who will stand for marriage and who will appoint judges that will not legislate from the bench." Too bad, Sammy. Democrat Chet Culver just started his term as governor this year. It'll be more than three years before such an election takes place. And besides, Sammy, you haven't read the ruling either, as evidenced by your pathetic "legislate from the bench" remark.

Rudy ("More marriages than kidneys") Giuliani: "Rudy Giuliani believes marriage is between a man and a woman." Oh, this one is too easy. I'm leaving it alone.

Hillary ("I've got more balls than any Republican") Clinton: Said she favors civil unions "with full equality of benefits." But she said the question of same-sex marriage should be left up to the states. Bland, but at least there is no suggestion on her part that she has actually read the ruling.

Barack ("Yes, my voice HAS cracked") Obama: Said through a spokesman he "believes these matters should be left to the states, which is why he opposes the Defense of Marriage Act." Noncommital and kinda misses the point, but what the hey.
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Old 2nd September 2007, 10:03 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by Safe-Keeper View Post
As for the argument that marriage is for making kids, it's so silly I can't even begin to fathom it. First of all, as you said, there's the fact that sterile people and couples not interested in having kids being entitled to marry without receiving flak from the bigots. Secondly, there's the fact that there exists in every country a number of orphans, or kids of parents unfit to care for them. If everyone's going to make kids and no one's going to take care of the existing ones, what do we do with those without good parents? Do we just leave them to rot in orphanages?

I do believe, actually, that the fact that gays and lesbians can't have kids together is one of the main reasons to support gay marriage. The couples, unless they procreate through artificial means, adopt kids from orphanages and give them good, caring homes to live in.
Judge Hanson mentions another class of heterosexuals allowed to marry, even though they can't have kids: PRISONERS! Yes, your scum-sucking (but technically straight) felon in the pokey has the right to marry, even if law-abiding gay couples don't.

It may also be a good idea to remember what George Carlin said: Gay couples WON'T HAVE ABORTIONS! If you're really opposed to abortions, then shouldn't you be in favor of committed relationships that are guaranteed not to have abortions?
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Old 2nd September 2007, 10:19 PM   #46
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Don't they realize if we let the gays get married, god will be very angry and the rapture will happen?
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Old 3rd September 2007, 03:45 AM   #47
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Originally Posted by Brown View Post
Those who would label Judge Hanson as "activist" or "legislating from the bench" would do well to read those sections of his opinion in which he discusses evidence. Legislatures are not bound by such rules of evidence, but Judge Hanson is. Moreover, Judge Hanson will not consider personal opinion, no matter how deeply held or how prestigious the person holding it, without some specialized study backing it up.
I thought you knew activist judge was a political term for "Judge making ruleings I don't like and changing the status quo"
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Old 3rd September 2007, 06:39 AM   #48
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This reminds me of the fact that forty or so years ago a black person and a white person couldn't marry because many people thought it "immoral" or worse yet some sort of "interspecies" mating.

Can't keep love apart forever. It is a loosing battle.

This issue mostly bothers me because it is such a waste of precious time. Other issues are so much more important (the war, education, health system, etc) and time is being wasted on an issue that is really only an issue because a bunch of loud mouths are screaming "eeww we don't like that!"

Lewis Black covers this issue well in "Red, White and Screwed" when he quotes a congressman (from pennsylvania I believe, who's name I am sorry to say I cannot remember) as saying that "gay marriage is a threat to the American family" and then says that the statement shows "a level of ignorance that is staggering in this time period."

The fact that adult of age citizens who have the right to marry are being denied their right to marry is just mind boggling to me. Don't like, don't go to the wedding, don't go to their house for dinner, don't throw an anniversary party for them, etc, etc, so on and so forth. Next issue please!
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Old 3rd September 2007, 06:53 AM   #49
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The sad thing is that opponents of gay marriage are picturing scary, sexy gays getting married. Leathermen and porn stars and drag queens. And then them doing threatening, erotic things at the wedding reception, thus throwing terror into the straight population with their sexy, sinful antics.

When it actually looks like the gays who get married or want to are the boring, ordinary-looking couples who go to the hardware store on Saturdays to pick up tile to fix up their bathroom, not to find reinforced ceiling hooks for their sex dungeon. It's hard to think of anything less threatening than people settling down. Thats when they stop going out and picking up strangers and dancing on tables and doing all the things that scare the straights if they're flipping through the channels and come across a pride parade on the news.
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Old 4th September 2007, 12:59 PM   #50
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Originally Posted by Terry View Post
Quote:
Well, any time their anti-gay God wants to duke it out, man fairy against fairy tale tail, I'm ready!
Fixed it for you, dear
Just remember: you started it.
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Old 4th September 2007, 03:50 PM   #51
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Cool info Mr. Brown!

Thanks !
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Old 4th September 2007, 04:49 PM   #52
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
The sad thing is that opponents of gay marriage are picturing scary, sexy gays getting married. Leathermen and porn stars and drag queens. And then them doing threatening, erotic things at the wedding reception, thus throwing terror into the straight population with their sexy, sinful antics.

When it actually looks like the gays who get married or want to are the boring, ordinary-looking couples who go to the hardware store on Saturdays to pick up tile to fix up their bathroom, not to find reinforced ceiling hooks for their sex dungeon. It's hard to think of anything less threatening than people settling down. Thats when they stop going out and picking up strangers and dancing on tables and doing all the things that scare the straights if they're flipping through the channels and come across a pride parade on the news.

I am sure there are plenty of heterosexual couples who go out to get ceiling hooks for their sex dungeon.

Well probably not every weekend.
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Old 13th September 2007, 09:38 AM   #53
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News flash, from the Des Moines Register:
Quote:
A conservative political activist is demanding that the Iowa Legislature impeach Polk County District Judge Robert Hanson, who ruled in August that the state's gay-marriage ban is unconstitutional.

Bill Salier, a Nora Springs farmer and former Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, said Wednesday that he is passing around a petition seeking the judge's impeachment. Salier said Hanson's ruling is the latest example of judges abusing their power in order to impose their personal beliefs on Americans.

"He's advancing what he wants to be the law, but he cannot pass law because he is not a representative or a senator or a governor," Salier said. "It's a malfeasance of his office, and he needs to be removed for it."
Well, hello, Salier!

All right, that was a cheap shot, but this isn't: Chances are excellent that, based upon this "activist's" remarks, he either has not read the ruling that he is so steamed about, or he has not made the first effort to try to understand it.

So not only is he a loudmouth, he's an ignorant loudmouth as well. And the punch line is... (wait for it) ... he's quick to say that anybody who doesn't agree with him is stupid.

According to the Register, the response to his individual's activity has been laughter.
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Old 13th September 2007, 09:50 AM   #54
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I'm confused. How is this not the very thing the judicial branch should be deciding? It concerns individual rights as they relate to the constitution (state constitution in this case).

The courts have long existed as a check on the power of the majority to deny the rights of the minority. That is one of the most important purposes that they serve. Yet the Right would label any rulings they don't agree with as inappropriate "legislating from the bench" by "activist judges". Isn't this claim completely ridiculous? Without so-called activist judges, what would have become of America's civil rights era? Many of the most important breakthroughs in rights have been the result of judicial rulings. Judges help prevent the tyranny of the majority.

By design, the only way to overcome these rulings is to change the constitution. Unfortunately some states have done just that, but at least such a move makes sense from a governmental perspective.
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Old 13th September 2007, 10:17 AM   #55
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Originally Posted by patrick767 View Post
I'm confused. How is this not the very thing the judicial branch should be deciding?
It's really very simple.

When the judge rules in your favor, he is Upholding The Law.
When the judge rules against you, he is an Activist Judge who is Legislating From The Bench.

Any questions?
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Old 13th September 2007, 10:29 AM   #56
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Originally Posted by Cleon View Post
It's really very simple.

When the judge rules in your favor, he is Upholding The Law.
When the judge rules against you, he is an Activist Judge who is Legislating From The Bench.

Any questions?
Still awesome, I see!
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Old 13th September 2007, 10:38 AM   #57
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And if the legislature pass a gay rights bill, then obviously it needs to be vetoed by the governor, because "the people should decide".
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Old 13th September 2007, 11:59 AM   #58
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It’s bigotry, plain and simple. Sure they have a wide variety of arguments to back up their position, but the arguments are all either stupid or depend on untestable “Religious” beliefs. And the bible thumpers don’t impress me at all. While they are willing to criss-cross the country trying to ban gay marriage, I have yet to see them devote similar resources to banning shellfish, polyester, or credit cards. This is not obeying the word of God, this is hating gays and using the word of God as an excuse.
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Old 13th September 2007, 08:31 PM   #59
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Originally Posted by Random View Post
This is not obeying the word of God, this is hating gays and using the word of God as an excuse.
At our house we call this Christianity, one of a wide range of One True Religions.
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Old 16th January 2008, 02:20 PM   #60
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Further update:

According to the Des Moines Register, a group has decided to try to push the Iowa Legislature toward a constitutional amendment to keep those disgusting homos in their place ... I mean, to prevent same-sex unions.

To emphasize that their convictions are based upon something other than evidence of need for such an amendment, the protesters are including a "prayer walk."

Some have characterized the "prayer walk" as an inappropriate attempt to influence the Iowa Supreme Court. That's actually quite funny. Knowing the members of the Supreme Court, the effect that this event is likely to have on them is about as close to zero as can be. Not a one of them will let fear of impeachment, lack of retention or other political stress influence their analysis of the case. That's just not how this court does business.

A few years ago, the Iowa appellate courts made some high-profile decisions in a case that received nation-wide attention. There was considerable protesting at the time, with public demonstrations. There were letter-writing campaigns to influence the judges' decisions. And the Iowa judges did what they thought was right, even as unpopular as it was. Although lay commentators around the country lined up against them, the Iowa judges said they decided according to the law, and they ignored the demonstrators and letters. One judge was quoted in the local newspaper as saying that he would read enough of a letter to see what it was about, and if it pertained to a pending matter, he would unceremoniously throw it into the trash. The Iowa decision eventually held up, and the case was at an end, despite the outcome being highly unpopular. (Read a brief summary of this case at the Time Magazine web site.) In light of this history, it is unlikely that a well-mannered public demonstration will have any effect upon consideration of the legal issues that the Court must face.
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Old 2nd April 2009, 12:19 PM   #61
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Further Update:

The Iowa Supreme Court's decision is expected tomorrow, 3 April 2009.
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Old 2nd April 2009, 01:05 PM   #62
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Originally Posted by Brown View Post
Just a reminder: The decision can be found here.
"Page Not Found"
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Old 2nd April 2009, 01:17 PM   #63
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Originally Posted by Kthulhut Fhtagn View Post
"Page Not Found"
Please note dates. September != April.
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Old 2nd April 2009, 02:15 PM   #64
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And 2009 > 2007
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Old 2nd April 2009, 02:23 PM   #65
Kthulhut Fhtagn
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Originally Posted by GreyICE View Post
Please note dates. September != April.
I'm attempting to bring it to the attention of someone so that, just maybe, someone will actually have another link to the ruling so that I can read it. Next time I'll remember just to keep my mouth shut and not be able to learna damn thing.
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Old 2nd April 2009, 03:22 PM   #66
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Originally Posted by Brown View Post
if you thinks this is confusing, as a New York lawyer why his Court of Appeals is higher than his Supreme Court.
Because, in NY, the "Supreme Court" only references it being "supreme" to other trial-level courts, like civil court, traffic court, housing court, village court, etc. See? That wasn't confusing at all.

New York simply set up its court systems in the 1600's, well before the US Constitution declared the Judiciary to be embodied in a "Supreme Court of the United States" with the trial courts below it.

In most States the trial court is the "Superior Court", which is inferior to the Appellate Courts (which are inferior to the Supreme Court). They are called that because they are "superior" to the other trial courts. New York just picked "supreme" instead of "superior".

The federal courts are the least confusing. They named their courts after jurisdictions. The lower courts accept all cases in a judicial district and this are called "District Courts". The appellate courts are divided into circuits and are thus called "Circuit Courts". And they are all inferior to the highest court in the land, the "Supreme Court". (Well, except there are separate Bankruptcy Courts in each district... okay. It's a little confusing.)

Last edited by marksman; 2nd April 2009 at 03:25 PM.
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Old 2nd April 2009, 06:08 PM   #67
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The link to where the opinion is expected to be is:

http://www.iowacourts.gov/Supreme_Court/Opinions/

Click "Most Recent Opinions."

As of this writing, the opinion is not there yet. There is a notice, however, that an opinion in the case of Varnum v. Brien is expected to be filed on April 3.

As indicated in a story in the Des Moines Register, the Court is gearing up for the inevitable protests, whatever the result may be.
Quote:
The judicial building and the surrounding grounds “are not public forums for private use,” court administrators said in a written statement. “The judicial branch reserves the right to restrict private activities in the building and on its adjoining grounds to ensure the administration of justice at all stages is free from disruption, interference, and undue influence.”

Activities such as press conferences, rallies and other public gatherings will be confined to the lower terrace on the building’s north end, and the public sidewalk adjacent to Court Avenue, court administrators said. Access to the building must remain “open and unobstructed at all times,” the statement said.
When a decision involving intense emotion and heightened public interest is decided, news organizations and political activists rush to report what the Court said. This often leads to misleading reporting, because it may take hours to give a court opinion due consideration and analysis.

Nevertheless, chances are that folks will look first at the cover page of the opinion. "AFFIRMED" means that the lower court's decision was upheld and prohibitions on gay marriage are unconstitutional under the Iowa constitution. But if the result is anything else ("REVERSED AND REMANDED," AFFIRMED IN PART, REVERSED IN PART AND REMANDED," etc.), then that means: You have to read the opinion to see what the Court did. It does NOT necessarily mean that the gay marriage ban is constitutional.

Those skimming the opinion are also usually interested in how many justices voted each way. In Iowa, there are split decisions, just as there are in the US Supreme Court. But Iowa has a history of trying to issue unanimous opinions in as many cases as possible. (A few years ago, Chief Justice Roberts announced that he would try to achieve more uniformity of assent to opinions from the US Supreme Court. So far, he has failed. But Iowa has a history of success.)

If the decision is "AFFIRMED," I think it is possible but tending toward unlikely that the decision will be unanimous. If the decision is anything else, I think it is possible but moderately likely that the decision will be unanimous.
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Last edited by Brown; 2nd April 2009 at 06:10 PM.
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Old 2nd April 2009, 10:06 PM   #68
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Originally Posted by DoubtingStephen View Post
Of course the judge will be harshly villified.

A losing district attorney commented, after the judge ruled, that this matter should not be decided by a judge.
Yeah, so WHO is supposed to rule on matters of law? Pat Robertson?
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Old 3rd April 2009, 01:00 AM   #69
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Originally Posted by jj View Post
Yeah, so WHO is supposed to rule on matters of law? Pat Robertson?
By who ever makes the right decision obviously.
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Old 3rd April 2009, 07:34 AM   #70
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Iowa court backs same-sex marriage
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Old 3rd April 2009, 07:48 AM   #71
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Originally Posted by New York Times
The Iowa Supreme Court says the state's same-sex marriage ban violates the constitutional rights of gay and lesbian couples, making it the third state where gay marriage is legal.

In a unanimous ruling issued Friday, the court upheld a 2007 Polk County District Court judge's ruling that the law violated the state constitution.
Does this mean gay marriage is legal in Iowa immediately, as in today?
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Old 3rd April 2009, 07:57 AM   #72
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Originally Posted by Alt+F4 View Post
Does this mean gay marriage is legal in Iowa immediately, as in today?
Oh, no! All those poor heterosexual people whose marriages are suddenly meaningless! Won't somebody think of the straight people?
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Old 3rd April 2009, 08:21 AM   #73
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Quote:
Court rules dictate that the decision will take about 21 days to be considered final, and a request for a rehearing could be filed within that period. That means it will be at least several weeks before gay and lesbian couples can seek marriage licenses.

But Polk County Attorney John Sarcone said the county attorney's office will not ask for a rehearing, meaning the court's decision should take effect after that three-week period.
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Old 3rd April 2009, 08:57 AM   #74
Alt+F4
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Originally Posted by Upchurch View Post
Oh, no! All those poor heterosexual people whose marriages are suddenly meaningless! Won't somebody think of the straight people?
Good day for the divorce lawyers though....

Bravo Hawkeyes!
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Old 3rd April 2009, 09:06 AM   #75
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As has been reported, the cover page says "AFFIRMED."

The decision was UNANIMOUS.

The number of pages of the opinion was 69. I'm sure that was a conicidence.

I have the decision in front of me. I have read it once, and will read it again before commenting in detail. I note, however, that the Court hits many of the questions discussed in this thread.

In a sense, the Court went further than Judge Hanson. In particular, the Court went out of its way to mention religious objections to same-sex marriage (see the discussion beginning on page 63). Further, the Court dropped a big fat hint to the legislature saying, don't try to legislate this decision out of the books; that won't work. The only body that can overturn this decision is the People, by amending the Constitution.
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Old 3rd April 2009, 09:16 AM   #76
Alt+F4
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Originally Posted by Brown View Post
The only body that can overturn this decision is the People, by amending the Constitution.
Makes me wonder what the Mormons are planning now.
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Old 3rd April 2009, 11:35 AM   #77
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Originally Posted by Upchurch View Post
Quote:
"It's, quite frankly, a disaster," said Brian English, a spokesman for the Iowa Family Policy Center, a nonprofit research and educational organization committed to strengthening the family.
"Obviously, we're extremely disappointed," he said. "We're saddened. Perhaps a little bit surprised in the unanimous decision that the court handed down."
English, who said opponents of gay marriage prayed outside the courthouse Friday as they awaited the court's decision, already has begun lobbying the legislature for an Iowa Marriage Amendment.
I guess they didn't pray hard enough?

Or God is gay.

I report, you decide.
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Old 3rd April 2009, 11:39 AM   #78
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Yay for Iowa!


...Now there's a phrase you don't use every day...
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Old 3rd April 2009, 11:42 AM   #79
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Thank you, Brown, for filling this thread with what the kids these days are calling "win."

My friend and classmate, who follows the gay marriage fight very closely in every state, informs me that Iowa has a relatively difficult constitution to amend (that is, it can't be amended simply by referendum). So this decision should "stick" a little longer than, say, California's. As in, permanently, we may hope.
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Old 3rd April 2009, 11:43 AM   #80
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One of my dictums is: "Reaction to news is not news."

This dictum is a criticism of local news organizations, particular local television news organizations, that need video to make up their daily programs. Whenever there is a momentous event of any kind, some schmuck reporter selects people off the street and asks for their reaction to the event. During the news organization's broadcast, there is a story about the event itself (which IS news), followed by "public reaction" (which is NOT news).

Today, however, reaction to the news of the Iowa Supreme Court's decision does appear to be news.

There seems to be a pervasive theme in the reactions of those who disagree with the decision: the disagreement is based heavily, if not exclusively, upon religious grounds.

To paraphrase Justice Cady, the argument that "God says so" carries no weight in a court of law.

The reaction to news is news here, because true colors are being shown. All this talk about secular justification for the Iowa statute is largely, if not exclusively, pretense. The basic objections to equal treatment of gays are religious. In the minds of many, it is the State's job to enforce the will of the Almighty--as they see it.
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