Judicial Supremacy

For the second time this year, the court has tried to micromanage the legislature and determine the lawmakers’ intentions and motivations.

Iowa is on a dangerous path.

The Iowa Supreme Court recently released their 3-3 split decision on the fetal heartbeat bill appeal. Because there was no majority decision, an injunction remains in effect, preventing the state from enforcing the law passed by the legislature and signed by Governor Reynolds in 2018.

The issue is outside the scope of what ITR does as an organization, but the reasoning behind the court’s decision is important.

For the second time this year, the court has tried to micromanage the legislature and determine the lawmakers’ intentions and motivations.

Click for our in-depth analysis on ITR Live

In March, the court cited legislative debate in a decision on the constitutionality of a different law. Despite that law being lawfully enacted by the legislature and signed by Governor Reynolds, the Iowa Supreme Court made value determinations for that law based on the process of how it moved through a separate branch of government.

Now, three members of the court assert that the fetal heartbeat bill was only a “hypothetical law” because legislators at the time knew it was probably unconstitutional. There is no such thing as a hypothetical law.

This is judicial activism.

The only criteria for determining whether the general assembly was serious about a law is whether they got 51 votes in the House, 26 votes in the Senate, and the governor’s signature. That’s it. That is the only criteria that the court gets to use to decide. It is the four corners of the document and whether it was duly enacted.

In the written opinion, Justice McDermott criticized his three colleagues who voted to uphold the injunction who “Peddle in speculation about what the legislative and executive branches were thinking when they enacted the heartbeat law.”

McDermott continued, “So instead of analyzing the law as a law, they offer conjecture about the intentions of the elected representatives that passed the law. John Adams has been credited with declaring that ours ‘is a government of laws, not men.’ But our colleagues flip it and add a twist: that ours is a government not of laws but a court’s view of legislators’ motivations when they pass laws.”

Your voice has been silenced.

As the “Voice of the Taxpayer,” ITR knows how powerful your voice can be.

Iowans elected the governor and legislators to be their voices and represent them as they make laws. Judicial activism and supremacy silences the voices of the people through their elected officials.

If the Iowa Supreme Court continues its assault on the independence of the Iowa legislature, they shouldn’t be surprised when the legislature starts trying to dictate terms to them in their own separate branch of government.

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