The Ottumwa Courier

October 3, 2012

No unknown rights in Iowa’s Constitution


OTTUMWA — On Nov. 6, the question will be asked, “Shall Judge David Wiggins be retained on the Iowa Supreme Court?” I will vote no, and it is not because he was one of the seven who ruled in favor of same-sex marriage, but because of the way they did it. Collectively, they published this statement, “We discovered hitherto unknown rights in the Iowa Constitution.” Translation, “We made it up!” The Iowa Constitution is closely patterned after the U.S. Constitution and is a carefully thought-out document. It has existed since 1785, and has stood the scrutiny of five or six generations of lawyers. There are no unknown rights hidden in the Iowa Constitution. If you believe the right of same-sex marriage is in it, ask yourselves what the original authors of the Iowa Constitution would say about that.

The question will be asked, “So what is the harm?” The harm is if they can redefine something as basic as marriage, they can redefine anything: your right to property, your right to vote, your right to travel freely, your right to religious freedom, even your right to life.

The judges are explaining that their office should not become political. It already was before this decision, and they did it to themselves. There were seven liberal judges with no conservative voice, no conservative ideas. They became a liberal body instead of a neutral body, and that is political.

A judge who believes that he has the right to decide, instead of interpreting, your rights should be dismissed.

Paul Halferty