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Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014

Don't Throw Justice Under The Bus

Posted Thursday, September 27, 2012, at 12:07 AM

Most everyone would agree that the best justice system is one in which justice cannot be bought.

For years Iowa has had a system of appointing judges by a process of merit selection. In some states, judges have to run for election and solicit contributions to fund their campaigns. Who would want his case decided by a judge he did not help elect---especially if his adversary had contributed to that judge's campaign? Merit selection is by far the better approach.

Judges must make tough, unpopular decisions when the law requires it. Judges are not supposed to publicly comment about a case being decided.

There is a present campaign/bus tour to unseat Justice David Wiggins because Wiggins joined a unanimous court in a decision three years ago concerning gay marriage.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpolitics/...

If a voter wants to vote not to retain a judge because the judge is not a good judge (ie repeatedly exhibits poor temperament, is biased, or never gets the decisions out in timely fashion) so be it. But to vote not to retain a judge only because one does not agree with one controversial opinion that judge joined three years ago does nothing but throw our justice system under the bus.


Comments
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The Constitution provides that judges be appointed by the president with the "advice and consent" of the Senate. So appointing judges is one of the duties of the president but it is "with the advice and consent of the Senate".

In reality, many of the Supreme Court Justices who are appointed have proven to be NOT what the president who appointed them had in mind. The Earl Warren court is a good example. But whether a particular justice interprets the law in a conservative or a liberal manner, since Marbury v. Madison it has been decided that The US Supreme Court is responsible for such interpretation.

-- Posted by JP Greer on Wed, Nov 7, 2012, at 8:25 PM

If politics are supposed to stay out of the courts, why do Presidents appoint Supreme Court Justices that usually have the same political views as their own? Isn't this exactly what the voters are doing by electing to keep him or let him go? I know obviously the election is over and he is staying but I just wanted to throw that out there.

PS- I voted to retain him.

-- Posted by iowafan11 on Wed, Nov 7, 2012, at 4:15 PM

Big win for Wiggins last night.

-- Posted by Sony on Wed, Nov 7, 2012, at 12:59 PM

DHarris.... i was talking about the ones that voted "no" for it.

Michael...hahahaha now you are sounding like my sarcastic side and i thought it was funny. last week i wish you could of wrapped me in a blanket as cold as it got and as for the sippy cup, hope it has good stuff in it lol ") i did ask you some questions and you did not answer them, but that is ok, cuss i know that we will have to agree to disagree on this. I ask that you go to this site and hopefully you can download it...http://www.whoradio.com/pages/pp_janmickelson.html?article=10463084. this is how i feel and many others in the state of iowa. i could not of said it better so, i am not going to try. just that you can not take bits and pieces of the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and Declaration of Independence to fit a lawsuit. That was the political spin from the lawyers.

But as far as me getting involved I do. more ways than one, hence why it has taken me awhile to reply. i also have to say i can not wait for this election year to be done, cuss it can wear one out for being involved.

-- Posted by acerdj on Wed, Oct 10, 2012, at 7:09 AM

Well said, Michael. As for the first post from acerdj: "We the people of Iowa said that we did not want to allow gay marriage."

Wait - what?? I'm one of the people in Iowa and I've never said any such thing. Do not presume to speak for me. As a matter of fact I'm in favor of gay marriage, not because I'm gay, or have a family member who's gay (though I do have, and probably more than the one or two I know about), and not even from a political point of view. I'm in favor of gay marriage because I believe no one should be denied the same rights that I have, simply because of their sexual orientation. (Or race, or religeon, or shoe size.) Have some compassion for your fellow man. A little more kindness toward one another would go a long way toward making this world a better place.

-- Posted by DHarris on Tue, Oct 9, 2012, at 10:05 AM

Condescending? Me? Hardly. But I didn't wrap you in blanket and told you everything would be ok, either...

If only I had treated you with kid gloves you might have listened but you think I was mean to you so you won't?

Condescending would be me telling you I'm sorry I forgot your sippy cup before you got put to bed, but I didn't say that.

Understand that politics isn't nice, it isn't warm and fuzzy and if condescending is the worst thing that happens to you, you're in pretty good shape all things considered.

You make a lot of assumptions, you accuse me of being condescending, you do everything but what I'm telling you what you have to do:

Go discover the truth - change (THERE'S a scary word) you assumptions.

What, heaven forbid, it turns out that this guy that is giving you crap and making you "feel bad" - is actually right?

It's clear I've made you uncomfortable and you know what - that's a very good thing. If I make you uncomfortable enough - you might just start the process of change. Has that little inner voice inside you started to whisper yet "what if he's right?" If you're lucky, it will.

Understand that I'm not saying you'll agree with me, no sir ree Bob, not at all. But your lack of understanding of how the process actually works is preventing you from understanding how to effectively work for what you want.

I assumed nothing. I simply, and with a pointed spear, got your attention. My experience is that warm and fuzzy doesn't work.

The Supreme Court took the case and made a decision BASED ON THE LAW. It wasn't a popularity contest, or a beauty contest or anything like that : It was how the court, based on years of precedent interpeted the law - pure and simple.

That's what the judicial branch is there for - not to be a popularity contest - but, to the best of their abilities, based on reason, existing statues and the facts - make decisions. Do I agree with the decisions all the time? Nope - guarantee you I don't. BUT, if I don't, I know to change things is to go thru the legislative channels and get laws passed that will pass the test of being constitutional. Reread that if you aren't sure of what I said, because that is how the process works - NOT recalling Supreme Court Judges. That does NOTHING to overturn the decision - and guys like VanderPlaats know it. The question becomes: How do we get well meaning people like YOU to know it?

Condescending? If that's the worse thing I'm called because I want you to understand you're being played when all you really want to do is make a difference - then so be it.

Writing on a blog isn't something I do because I see a lot of "poor me" stuff.

Understand the political system. Understand how it really works. Get active - get involved. Take nothing for granted. Ask questions. Look at the voting pattern. I guarantee this much: You'll find out my tone is pretty civil by comparison.

Or sit there and cry and do nothing. That's the thing I can't stand. The system works well when voters are engaged. I unfortunately live in a time where it's so much easier to cry about it then to actually DO something about it.

Now you REALLY have a reason to be pissed at me. Or, if you really care about making a difference, a reason to go get involved.

-- Posted by MichaelR1951 on Wed, Oct 3, 2012, at 4:03 PM

I did forget to put "" around we the ppl of Iowa, so it does look like I voted, and that is my bad! I am tho one who voted for them to get fired. It is the constitution and THEY ARE to uphold it!! We can not pick and choose what part of it we want and don't want. If that is the case, then let us just rip it up and start a new one. That is where I am livid at. They do have a hard job and know the laws better than I will ever know it, but when it is in black and white, then why do they have to try and say that is not what it means? Kinda like if I tell my kid not to touch the stove, because it is hot, he touches it, I ask why did he do it, and he says well it didn't look like it was. Well I guess he kinda deserves the burn, cuss he didn't listen.

Also everyone has agenda including you and me. But the question up to vote was "should gay marriage be allowed".How was his agenda put into this? It was a constitutional question, not lets stick it to the gays.

-- Posted by acerdj on Mon, Oct 1, 2012, at 7:19 AM

Michael.....how very condescending you are. Why must you take this tactic? I stated my opinion on here and see and have read what was written after me. Did you see remark on anything badly or make ppl feel like they couldn't have their opinion? NOPE! But here you are trying to lecture me, and in the same breath, trying to treat me like a kid. How can I take you seriouse in any manner when you write like this? Thisis my opinio,n and if you want to show me something or teach me cool, but learn to do it correctly.

Now you ASSumed that I voted with the majority. That is your bad. I didn't vote on this for the fact I knew what would happened. They did it in Colorado too. The ppl of Colorado voted on it and they said no. The judges came in and overturned it. So why would I waste my gas and family time to vote on something that I KNEW would not be held up because it doesn't go with the trend for these days.

I don't care what VanderPlaats agenda is. When you go to vote, you need to know what it stands for, what your convictions are. That is what should be done. Now as far as you doing this since you were 16, good for you! I gave you hand clap, but I too do the same. But I don't need to go around announcing it to feel like I am in power. Not victim, but I am allowed to state my opinion on situations. If you would like to help educate me, cool, but don't talk down to me. I am always willing to learn, and love learning new things about situations, but it does not mean that I will go that way.

-- Posted by acerdj on Mon, Oct 1, 2012, at 7:01 AM

acerdj,

We live in a democratic society. The Iowa Constitution is based on the U.S. Constitution. The founding fathers set up the three branches of government and the system that we live under. Sony posted a thoughtful response which you should re-read if you haven't already.

I won't address your position of gay marriage but I will address your question and add one comment.

"When do our voices get heard???? " I hear this from people who want to play the victim. Your voice is heard, but the judicial branch is not, as Sony points out, based on a popularity contest - we pay judges to understand the law and make decisions based on their legal training, their experience and understanding of the law.

This country works because of three branches of government. It is brilliant in it's design and simplicity.

If you feel strongly, do what countless number of generations dating back to the founding fathers have done: Get involved! Read, research and most importantly: THINK. There is no issue - none - that is so important - that is greater than destroying the form of government we have lived under since the founding fathers founded it.

Have I followed my own advice? Since I was 16 years old.

Now for the comment: As someone who has been around politics for a long time, it's fair to assume that a lot of times what you see and hear is different from what is actually going on. This is also known as political spin.

In the case of the recall movement here in Iowa, the leader is Bob VanderPlaats of Sioux City. Mr. VanderPlaats is a two time Republican candidate who has been soundly defeated by fellow Republicans.

So ask yourself this question: What's in this for Mr. VanderPlaats?

If you use half as much energy learning about what motivates Mr. VanderPlaats as you put into posting on websites, you may discover that things are, as I said, not as they appear from the outside.

When you play the victim, you play into the hands of others. Wouldn't make more sense to learn and help lead instead of playing the victim?

-- Posted by MichaelR1951 on Sat, Sep 29, 2012, at 5:41 PM

Well stated Sony.

-- Posted by muvymatt on Fri, Sep 28, 2012, at 9:56 AM

I agree totally with Sony, JP and Steelerfan100.

-- Posted by deweyh on Thu, Sep 27, 2012, at 4:50 PM

I agree totally with Sony and JP.

-- Posted by Steelerfan100 on Thu, Sep 27, 2012, at 3:51 PM

JP - I couldn't agree with you more.

acerdj - You're proving Mr. Greer's point. When the Iowa Supreme Court struck down the defense of marriage act, they did so because it violated the equal protection clause of the Iowa Constitution. In your words they "interpret[ed] law and ensure[ed] it is in accordance with the state constitution." They didn't choose sides, they based a tough, controvercial decision on Constitutional law.

When people got angry about the decision, I believe their anger was misplaced. Voting not to retain a judge does nothing to change the law. There is a way to make a change even with this ruling on the books. The beautiful thing about a Constitution is that the legislature can amend it. Sure, it takes a large majority, but if enough people feel strongly about an issue (as they apparently do about this one) amending the Constitution is the proper channel.

Finally, (as JP said) politicizing the judicial branch is dangerous. It is the one brach which is supposed to be outside of partisan politics. Can you imagine having lobyists donating to judicial campaigns? Exerting incfluence over consitutional interpretation? It is exactly why judges are appointed by merit and not by vote.

-- Posted by Sony on Thu, Sep 27, 2012, at 9:12 AM

Are you kidding me? Really, this is how you feel? We the people of Iowa said that we did not want to allow gay marriage. Then the gays thought it was unconstitutional. The judicial branch is to interpret law and ensure it is in accordance with the state constitution. Not agree with one side or the other. We who voted against was the voice that said we are to stay with the state and national constitution. This is the samething that happened with the illegals. Wiggins must go!!

This is the same reason why we are in the mess that we are in and why ppl feel that there is no reason to vote. It is just going to get over ruled in the end or the electoral is just going to do what they want anyways. When do our voices get heard???? When does "We the People" actually become this is the majority that voted. This also falls under, as you say, they make tough, unpopular decisions. The decisions should have been "The ppl voted and they said no, no is the answere."

-- Posted by acerdj on Thu, Sep 27, 2012, at 5:03 AM


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Description: JP's take on legal (and other) issues which interest him. Biography: Born in Spencer Iowa, February 6, 1957; Graduated Spencer High School 1975; University of Iowa (B.B.A. 1979); Creighton University School of Law (J.D. 1984); American Jurisprudence Award: Debtor/Creditor Relations; Assistant State Attorney, Florida, 12th Judicial Circuit, 1986-89; Assistant Clay County Iowa Attorney, 1989-93; Iowa State Bar Association: Volunteer Lawyers, 1993- ; American Citizenship Committee, 1994-98; Bridge the Gap Committee 1991-94; Criminal Justice Act Panel Member, 2002- ; National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, 2004- ; Iowa Association for Justice, 2004- ; American Bar Association, 1984- ; Florida Bar Association, 1986- .