Integrity of Iowa Courts Persists, Equality Groups Say

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January 17, 2013

Today, Iowa State Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Cady delivered the State of the Judiciary address in Des Moines.

Lambda Legal and One Iowa have worked together toward full equality for LGBT people and their families, have fought to preserve Iowa's proud tradition of fair and impartial courts, and have countered against any attempts to politicize our courts through public education and advocacy. 

Both equality groups responded to Iowa State Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Cady's State of the Judiciary address today in Des Moines.

Eric Lesh, Lambda Legal's Fair Courts Project Manager, says:

With spending in judicial races reaching unprecedented levels, it is often easy to blur the line between justice and politics. But today we are reminded of the important role that courts serve in our constitutional democracy. In 2009, in a unanimous decision in Lambda Legal's lawsuit Varnum v. Brien, the Iowa Supreme Court struck down the state's discriminatory marriage ban and extended the freedom to marry to loving same-sex couples. In so doing, the justices served with integrity by defending the rights of individuals from a law that was at odds with the guarantee of equality in Iowa's Constitution. This is the role of the courts. But maintaining an independent judiciary takes work, and Lambda Legal will continue to make the case for equality while fighting to preserve fair courts and equal access to justice for all. 

Donna Red Wing, One Iowa's Executive Director, says:

Today, Justice Mark Cady delivered the State of the Judiciary address and it is clear the integrity of our courts is strong. Last November, Iowa voters sent a message that using marriage equality and the lives of LGBT Iowans as a  wedge issue to politicize our courts is not only shameful, but is no longer a winning strategy. However, we know we have a lot of work to do to continue to ensure that all Iowans have access to justice. Judicial vacancies, furloughs, and delays are an impediment to justice and while legislators continue to play politics, the people lose. Our courts matter, and One Iowa will fight to ensure full access to a fair and impartial judiciary.