Living in Society

Republicans are Bad at Law Making

Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Cady

Last Friday the Iowa Supreme Court overturned the 2017 law requiring a 72-hour waiting period before a woman could have an abortion.

Here’s the money quote from Chief Justice Mark Cady, writing for the majority:

“The state’s capacity to legislate pursuant to its own moral scruples is necessarily curbed by the constitution. The state may pick a side, but in doing so, it may not trespass upon the fundamental rights of the people.”

There are lawyers among Republicans who crafted this law. Either their leadership was grossly negligent in writing it or they just don’t care if they impose their morality on Iowans through legislation.

Republicans are bad at law making. They’re crazy. But are they crazy like a fox?

Associated Press posted an article about the ruling last Saturday. In it is exposition about the so-called conservative strategy of getting Roe v. Wade overturned, which some say is the endgame of Iowa’s bad laws related to a woman’s right to choose.

Chuck Hurley, an attorney for the Christian conservative group The Family Leader said the ruling makes it even more important to get the fetal heartbeat law passed by Iowa lawmakers earlier this year before the U.S. Supreme Court. It bans abortions once a fetus’ heartbeat is detected, usually around six weeks of pregnancy.

Hurley and others believe it’s their best chance at reversing Roe v. Wade but the legal challenges are based on the Iowa Constitution and most likely will go again to the Iowa Supreme Court rather than the federal court.

“Americans know that when a baby’s heart is beating, she’s alive, but our state judges aren’t willing to protect her life,” Hurley said. “That’s why we need the U.S. Supreme Court to hear this case.”

Will this strategy work? I don’t know. Regardless, the 45th president will pick a replacement for Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy, and may also pick them for Associate Justices Stephen Breyer (79) and Ruth Bader Ginsburg (85) should they die or retire while he is in office. People like the Federalist Society’s Leonard Leo have coached the president in how to approach Supreme Court nominations so as to dodge the gorilla Roe v. Wade represents. If the nomination and confirmation of Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch is an example, the president will be adept at getting his picks to the high court. Cynics among us say regardless of the merits of the case, by packing the bench with conservatives Trump will midwife the overturn of Roe v. Wade. The unanswered question is to whom do Supreme Court justices owe fealty?

Last Friday was a good day for Iowans’ constitutional rights. It gave hope all is not lost in the Hawkeye State. It could be a bellwether of good things in November.

~ First posted on Blog for Iowa on July 3, 2018.