On Tuesday, the Iowa Senate approved a bill that says no state law can be held unconstitutional without the concurrence of at least five justices (a supermajority) of the Iowa Supreme Court. Senate File 2282 passed narrowly, on a 26-24 vote, and now moves to the Iowa House.
The ISBA is opposed to this bill for the following reasons: 1. 48 states, including Iowa, utilize a simple-majority opinion in declaring state laws unconstitutional. 2. There is a clear separation of power issue. The judicial branch does not tell the legislature how to pass bills. The legislature should not micro-manage the judicial branch’s operation. Although there has always been some degree of tension between each of the three branches of government, they should not dictate how each branch operates internally. 3. The U.S. Supreme Court has the power to declare any law in the country unconstitutional with just a simple majority. 4. Politics should not dictate decision-making in what is designed to be a non-partisan court. The law is intended to be “blind” for a purpose.
For these reasons, the ISBA urges members to contact their Iowa House members and urge them to vote “no” on SF2282. Click here to find your house member’s contact information.
Click here to see ISBA President Steve Eckley’s recent TV interview on the Senate vote, or here to read the Des Moines Register’s reporting on the supermajority bill.