April 21, 2014

Chief justice to meet critic of court’s gay marriage ruling

The chief justice of the Iowa Supreme Court has agreed to meet with one of the state’s leading critics of the court’s gay marriage ruling. 

Chuck Hurley of a group that recently changed its name to The FAMiLY Leader says he’ll ask the chief justice to “pray and search his heart” and Hurley says he’s confident the justice will then resign.

“This court thinks they’re smarter than nature,” Hurley says. “…In the opinion, the justices said that they’re holding the constitution up to an evolving standard and our view is that some things, like marriage, are transcendent.”

Hurley says the judiciary needs to be “subordinate” to not only the other branches of government and to the people, but to the laws of nature. ”Sodomy was called a crime against nature for centuries,” Hurley says. 

While Hurley plans to ask the chief justice to resign — and to convince the three other justices to follow him off the court — Hurley doesn’t expect the meeting to be confrontational. ”And as far as getting into hateful personality, casting aspersions, that’s not who I am and I don’t think that’s who Mark Cady is,” Hurley says. 

Hurley, who is a lawyer, says impeachment is a “big deal” that requires serious contemplation, so The FAMily Leader organization isn’t ready to endorse impeaching the four justices who remain on the court.

“They could help heal this state quickly and resolve this issue,” Hurley says, “and orderly resign over time.”

Chief Justice Mark Cady suggests his meeting with Hurley is part of the court’s new outreach strategy. 

“We’ll meet with all Iowans,” Cady said during a weekend appearance on IPTV’s “Iowa Press” program. “What we’re trying to do is open up our court system because I truly believe that that will be a way to give greater confidence in our court system.”

According to Cady, last fall’s judicial retention was a “wake-up call” for the court.

“We approached that retention election much like the judges and the judiciary has approached things.  We tried to stay in the back, do our work and do it in a competent way,” Cady said on IPTV. “The retention election revealed something else to us and we have to make sure something like that doesn’t happen against because it’s very destructive to our goal and our mission and our duty.” 

The four justices on the court heard oral arguments on Thursday and Cady indicated the court will continue to accept cases, regardless of the level of controversy a case may bring.

“This whole thing just gives the court an opportunity to make itself more visible, more open, more transparent,” Cady said, “because I’m really convinced…that the more Iowans can see their court in action and see it work, they’ll be even more proud of what we have.”

Cady, who lives in Fort Dodge, was elected by his peers to serve as chief justice in this interim period as the court waits for Governor Branstad to appoint three new justices.  Cady is the longest-serving member of the supreme court, appointed to the post by then-Governor Branstad in 1998.