In what I consider a stunning ruling, the Iowa Supreme Court has essentially ruled that abortion is not a right protected by the state of Iowa constitution. Nick Weig wrote at CBS2 Iowa's News Now, "The Iowa Supreme Court has reversed a lower courts ruling, and the ruling of the Supreme Court just four years ago, saying that an abortion in Iowa is not protected by the constitutional, and that a 24-hour waiting period passed by (the Iowa Legislature and signed into law by Governor Kim Reynolds) is legal."
This is a dramatic turn for a court that, in the past, has been seen as a maverick on issues of "social justice," such as LGBTQ rights and abortion rights. Governor Kim Reynolds has used her authority to control the appointment of members to the judicial nominating commission, which has resulted in a majority of Republican-appointed justices to the Iowa Supreme Court.
I never thought I'd say this about a judicial opinion: it makes for fascinating reading. It is written in plainspeak and cuts to the chase. "Although we overrule PPH II, and thus reject the proposition that there is a fundamental right to an abortion in Iowa’s Constitution subjecting abortion regulation to strict scrutiny, we do not at this time decide what constitutional standard should replace it," the decision reads. In this sentence the majority on the court seemingly clear the way for legislation outlawing abortion as the legislature and the Governor see fit. In addition, they also leave the door open for future court cases regarding the issue.
Another interesting approach in the opinion is that they recognize the case currently in front of the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS), as they write, "In addition, we are not blind to the fact that an important abortion case is now pending in the United States Supreme Court. That case could alter the federal constitutional landscape established by Roe and Casey." If Roe is, in effect, overturned by SCOTUS, as a leaked draft majority opinion indicated it would be. it wouldn't outlaw abortion. Rather, it would send the issue back to the individual states to be decided under a more Federalist regime, much like the founders of our country envisioned.
They further address the prior phrase, "we do not at this time decide what constitutional standard should replace it," by stating, "While we zealously guard our ability to interpret the Iowa Constitution independently of the Supreme Court’s interpretations of the Federal Constitution, the opinion (or opinions) in that case may provide insights that we are currently lacking."
Takeaways from this decision:
- The Iowa Supreme Court has long been seen as renegade or maverick, inventing rights where the Iowa Constitution has been silent. For those who believe in strict constructionism, and who have watched as the Iowa court has defied the electorate in favor is manufactured rights of all kinds, this is a good day
- A SCOTUS decision kicking the issue of abortion back to the states could result in the beginning of the de-nationalization of core issues important to Americans. Progressive Leftists have long made hay through the nationalization of many issues in defiance of what our founders' thoughts on Federalism were. The idea that communities of people should have the ability to govern themselves through the representation of those closest to them has been fought by Progressives, as they utilize the corporate media to create a "Star Chamber" effect and make it seem as if a great majority of Americans are on one side of an issue, when the polling and on-the-street facts say otherwise
- This also means that Democrats will have to begin to focus on building a 50-state strategy instead of just using the bully pulpit offered them by corporate media as their chief weapon. In fact, Democrats should be thankful for this wake-up call, as it could be their opportunity to reconnect with voters and discover the issues most important to them, rather than just taking marching orders from DC and their lobbyists. It may also require them to begin utilizing legislative means, rather than the courts or even executive action as their means of policy implementation.
- The Iowa decision, combined with the anticipated decision from SCOTUS will send a message to this generation of Americans, and one they have never heard before from the courts: "It is time for judicial restraint." To have multiple courts come through with the idea that the power of the people through the plebiscite or through the votes of the elected officials they send to represent them should not be diluted nor diminished is something I never thought I'd see in my lifetime
- As Iowans, we now have a choice. Iowa nice or Iowa vice. My fear is that stark raving madness will rule the day. Progressive leftists have pushed un into becoming a grievance culture. Instead of being able to talk to one another, we now engage in more than just heated debate. Cancel culture, doxxing, protesting the homes of legislators and jurists, the threat of violence, actual violence, and gross hyperbole are the fashion of the day. When me voicing my opinion becomes your feeling the threat of physical violence, something has become horribly wrong. Right now, this state is out ahead of the national debate on abortion. Let's set the example by not taking a victory lap, nor by making vapid and illegitimate claims, nor by encouraging violence and violent acts. Let's talk. Respectfully. Let's lead