The radio reports first referenced familiar news about the three Iowa Supreme Court justices being voted off the Court because of the Varnum case, the decision that legalized gay marriage. (If you’re LGBT and reading about either the Varnum decision or booting of the Supreme Court justices for the first time, um, you need to turn in your pink triangle membership card.) IPR then reported that the Republican controlled Iowa Legislature planned to impeach the remaining four Supreme Court justices. And just to really make me crazy, I heard Bob Vander Plaats—that warm and fuzzy civil libertarian—call upon the four justices to resign so that impeachment would not be necessary. According to Sideshow Bob, resigning was the “right thing to do.”
I also heard your governor (and trust me, I’m so happy to say “your” instead of “my”; the smart people to the north voted in a Democrat governor), Terry Brandstad, say he would not get involved in the decision on whether to impeach the justices. Apparently, his plate was too full and impeachment is handled by some other department.
What the hell is happening in my good old state of Iowa? I leave and the place seems to have gone to LGBT hell.
The radio report continued. I heard that there is a movement to get rid of the current procedure by which judges are appointed based on merit and replace it with a system where judges are elected by popular vote. Huh? Merit appointment is a pretty good idea since it ensures a degree of quality in Iowa’s judges. You may not care whether those judges are any good now, but wait until you are hurt in a car accident and need to sue, or god forbid, one of your loved ones is harmed by another person. It sure helps the progress of justice if the judge hearing the case actually knows what they are doing.
If the merit system for appointing judges is replaced by an election process, quality goes out the door. Any yahoo with a law degree can get elected. And let me assure you, there are a number of yahoos practicing law. If an election based system becomes reality, legal smarts and hard work will no longer be qualifying credentials. Instead, religious ferocity and who you know with money will be the litmus tests for becoming a judge.
I really wish I was making all of this up.
But it is actually far worse. In the last couple of weeks I have learned that the Extreme Right (read The People Who Hate Us) is now canvassing
Iowa courthouses to determine which Iowa judges have been performing same sex marriages. Apparently, after eliminating the Supreme Court, those judges are next. After that, I assume the ax will fall on judges who perform marriages of atheists, or Buddhists, or anarchists. I mean, really, where will it end?
One of my good friends received a mailing entitled The FAMiLY LEADER from the Iowa Family Center where Sideshow Bob writes, “November 2, 2010 (when the three Supreme Court Justices were voted out) was just one moment in the grand scheme of a vast political timeline… In order to have a long term impact on the culture for the sake of the Family and for the sake of Truth, we need to turn moments into a movement.” This mailing goes on to say that God “will use us to do his work.”
If you don’t already know, the implicit “Truth” Sideshow Bob talks about is that LGBT people are less human, less equal, and less worthy of his God. Sideshow Bob’s “grand scheme” is to have a religious-based judiciary in Iowa. This is the kind of thinga Constitution guaranteeing everyone equal protection under the law. I can’t even believe I’m having to write about this.
Aren’t you Iowans angry about this? Where are the marches in the streets? Where is the uproar among the LGBT community? Are you just going to sit back and take this craziness? Did you enjoy the closet?
Don’t look to the existing Iowa judges to do anything about this. All of them are scared to death about losing their jobs. I’m being presumptuous, but they’re only human and after a while the fear has to wear on them. What LGBT person (or attorney for that matter) wants to be in front of a judge with a bull’s-eye on his or her back? Blind justice? I don’t know.
I don’t think the Iowa lawyers can do much either. Some of the attorneys in the state actually support The People Who Hate Us. Other lawyers are worried that if they do anything, they will simply be shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic. No one wants to make enemies in case the system changes.
In the end, it is really much easier to get motivated to organize and win if you have a common point of view. Here, for the extremists,
the commonality is hatred. People don’t go to the trouble of firing Supreme Court justices simply because they think it’s a good idea. They do it because they hate what the Varnum decision represents and they hate us for wanting what they have—legally recognized marriages and families. How dare we? Really?
Someone needs to step forward and say “enough!” If he or she doesn’t, we have no one to blame but ourselves.