Gavel Grab

Iowa Leader Bars Challenge to Gay Marriage Ruling

Iowa’s Senate majority leader says he will not support any legislative challenge to a state Supreme Court ruling upholding gay marriage in his state, effectively killing any attempt by some lawmakers to intervene.

According to an Associated Press article, the refusal by Senator Michael Gronstal leaves gay marriage opponents few immediate options for overturning the high court by amending the state’s constitution. One possibility is to invite voters to seek a state constitution convention in 2010. The article said that voters are asked every 10 years in the general election ballot if they want to hold such a convention.

Unlike California, where voters passed a constitutional amendment after the state Supreme Court upheld gay marriage, Iowa has no provision for amending the constitution through ballot measures.

Despite Gronstal’s statement, the Iowa ruling continues to stir dissent. According to the Associated Press article, Rep. Dwayne Alons said, “The people of this state should have a say.” And in another article, former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich said the decision to allow same-sex marriage in Iowa was “outrageously wrong” and demonstrated “judicial arrogance.”

To learn more, see this previous Gavel Grab posting.

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New President of Conference of Chief Justices

Last week, at their annual conference in Anchorage, Alaska, the Conference of Chief Justices elected Chief Justice Margaret Marshall of Massachusetts to be the new president according to Legal Blog Watch.

A native South African, Justice Marshall is most noted for writing the opinion that legalized Same-Sex marriages in Massachusetts in 2003.

The Conference of Chief Justices is made up of the  highest judicial officers in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia, the Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the territories of American Samoa, Guam and the Virgin Islands. The group was founded in 1949 in order to, as their website states:

Provide an opportunity for the highest judicial officers of the states to meet and discuss matters of importance in improving the administration of justice, rules and methods of procedure, and the organization and operation of state courts and judicial systems, and to make recommendations and bring about improvements on such matters.

The organization was formed by the Justice at Stake partner, the National Center for State Courts, and in the past has  passed an important resolution on judicial selection.

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Calif. Justices Host Forum

Hoping to head off a possible surge in campaign politics, California Chief Justice Ron George is hosting a forum in Sacramento today on preserving fair and impartial courts.

Citing high-cost campaigns that have shaken public confidence in other states’ court systems, Chief Justice George has brought together two former California governors, Ohio’s chief justice, academics, bar leaders and others. California’s Supreme Court also was recently placed in the national limelight, with a ruling that allows same-sex marriages.

To learn more about concerns in California, see the following article on Another article on California justices was cited in a July 11 Gavel Grab posting.

You can also find a New York Times article on campaign funding and Ohio’s Supreme Court, as well as Wisconsin television ads in last spring’s judicial races.

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5/16/08: More from California (The Blogs)

Black robes trash traditional marriage – World Net Daily
Reaction from an opponent of Same-Sex Marriage in California.

Read more…

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5/16/08: The California Round Up

State Supreme Court says same-sex couples have right to marry – The San Francisco Gate
Reaction to the San Francisco same-sex decision yesterday from the San Francisco Gate.

Read more…

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5/9/08 – The Friday Edition

Justice O’Connor brings experience, wisdom to Boston – Forth Worth Star-Telegram
Editorial criticizing Presidential Candidate John McCain’s speech on judges he would appoint.
Read more…

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California Marriage Equality and Attacks on the Courts

In 2004, the State Supreme Court of California ordered the city and county of San Francisco to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples and said that it would consider in a separate legal action whether California’s restriction of marriage to different-sex couples violates the state’s constitution. Lambda Legal, the National Center of Lesbian Rights and the ACLU promptly filed a separate lawsuit against the state to win the right to marry for same-sex couples throughout California. Read more…

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1/31/08: New Folks in Missouri's Race for the Courts; McCain Appointing Liberals?; Amicus Brief Filed in Iowa

The irony impaired opponent of the “Missouri Court Plan”- Show Me Progress
A new player in the battle for the Missouri judiciary.

Liberty Counsel Files Brief at Iowa Supreme Court to Protect Traditional Marriage- Life, Liberty, and Family
The Liberty Counsel are set to have a fight in Iowa’s courts over same-sex marriage.

McCain would appoint liberal judges to the Supreme Court- Hillbilly White Trash
First, yes the blog is called Hillbilly White Trash. Secondly, their post is about the reaction Senator John McCain’s statements on who he would appoint to the Federal Courts.

Pioneering Blackwater Protesters Given Secret Trial and Criminal Conviction- The Hufffington Post
Blackwater and the justice. Or lack of justice. Interesting read.

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1/22/08: Medina's Not Under Fire Anymore; Recusal in Delaware; Burke Returns Campaign Money Back

Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke to Return Most of Her Campaign Contributions – News Alert
Blog post discussing Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke returning most her campaign contribution money back to her supporters. Burke has been collecting money for a race in which no one has filed candidacy against her since last summer.

Iowa Supreme Court Accords Respect to Second-Parent Adoptions – To Form a More Perfect Union: Marriage Equality News
More analysis of the Iowa Supreme Court ruling on Same-Sex, second parent adoptions. This may be an indicator of what is to come on the Supreme Court’s case on same-sex marriage in Iowa, which is to be argued later this year.

Supreme Court Addresses Judicial Recusal Standard – Delaware Commercial and Corporate Litigation blog
Judicial recusal standards was decided in front of the Delaware Supreme Court. This blog has the opinion in the post.

Indictment Against Texas Supreme Court Justice Is Dismissed – Bob Kraft is P.I.S.S.D.
The indictment against Supreme Court Justice David Medina and his wife is thrown out of court. This post provides more information on the issue.

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1/17/08: Opinions on The Supremes Decision Yesterday; The Real Story Behind the CIA Tapes; How to Make the Courts side with you? Take Your Anger to the State House, According to Some Iowans

A 9-0 reversal? Sorry, my bad – LawBeat
The Law Beat’s opinion on the Supreme Court’s decision in the case of NY Board of Elections v. Torres and how so many people thought the decision would go the other way.

“The Constitution Does Not Prohibit Legislatures From Enacting Stupid Laws” – Dorf on Law
Prof. Dorf over at Dorf on Law posts about Justice Stevens’ statement and his pleading for the NY State Legislature to correct this system because the courts can do nothing.

The Real CIA Tapes Scandal That Everyone is Ignoring – Balkinization
Prof. Mardy Lederman’s attempts to focus on the REAL anger about the CIA interrogation tapes.

Politician-Justices Against Judicial Elections – Bench Memos
And lastly, Ed Whelan takes the Supremes to task for their hypocritical decision in railing against Judicial Elections while being politicians themselves.

Hundreds of Anti-Gay Bigots Push Iowa High Court on Marriage – Towleroad
Post highlighting the anger that has touched off at the Iowa statehouse to ban gay marriage in the state of Iowa in a response to an Iowa trial court’s decision upholding same-sex marriage last summer.

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