Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Bending and Breaking Wills

  The Yankees are looking like toast after losing 2 games against the Rangers by a combined score of 18 to 3. They finally had a lead going into the 6th inning, but Burnett gave up a huge 3 run homer and the rout was on. There were a lot of chances for the Yankees to score some runs early, but the big hit never came and they had to settle for one run at a time. After the Red Sox disaster of 2004 I know anything is possible, but the beatdown the Rangers are putting on the pitching staff is not leaving me optimistic that the Yankees will to win is not broken. But at least they are still playing, which they wouldn't be if they hadn't made a miracle comeback in Game 1 of the series.

  There have been a huge battle of wills in Iowa this election season. Last year the 3 Iowa Supreme Court judges unanimously ruled that same-sex marriages are legal in Iowa. The majority of Iowans are perceived to be against allowing same-sex marriages and the state legislature could have allowed this issue to be decided on a referendum vote, but by not voting to have a referendum, they are attempting to have their cake and eat it too. They can pick up votes proclaiming their ‘personal disapproval’ or same-sex marriage but how they have to ‘uphold the law’ then getting campaign contributions from the ‘same-sex marriage lobby’ for not allowing the referendum.

  Iowa has a system in place where the Supreme Court justices must stand accountable to the voters in a ‘YES’ or ‘NO’ vote. I’ve never given these ‘judge’ votes a lot thought, but this year opponents of same-sex marriages from all around the country have thrown a lot of money into voting these judges out. There are plenty of politicians of both parties bemoaning the precedent voting the judges out would cause.

  I don’t really care one way or the other about same-sex marriage, but I’m glad my kids are almost grown up so I wouldn’t have to explain to my child why their teacher Mr. G, has a husband. What all the politicians are missing is that people are upset because they don’t feel they have a say in this matter. 3 people on a court say something that is unpopular with the majority of the population and has not been allowed for 150 years is now allowed immediately and the politicians make excuses to not allow the people they govern to vote on the matter (Here is Governor Chet Culver’s explanation - it is the ‘party-line’ of the politicians who feel this way when forced to clarify their positions). This up or down vote on the judges seems to be the only way left for the people to make their opinions on this matter felt.

  In a speech last week, Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Marsha Ternus said that the will of the people is expressed in the state constitution and claims her critics “wants our judges to be servants of this group’s ideology, rather than servants of the law.” She also said that “The people always have the last say about the content of meaning of the constitution…As you know, however, amending the constitution is a difficult and slow process. It is much easier for some people to simply complain about lawless courts running amok and exceeding their authority.”

  Ternus is comfortable in claiming she is merely upholding the laws of the State, but then complains the campaign to unseat the judges is an attempt to intimidate judges. But the retention vote is also a law of the state. It is a check on the power of judiciary. If judges make unpopular rulings, they can be voted out. I kind of like the idea. There would be a lot less fighting over the Supreme Court nominees if they weren’t appointed for life.