From a ruling that just came down today Galloway v. State. I’m not familiar with the case, but what we should find interesting is what soon-to-be-former Chief Justice Ternus and Justice Mark Cady wrote in their dissent:
Courts are, at times, capable of deciding legal issues based on public policy. These times, however, occur when the public policy is clear and apparent. See Fitzgerald v. Salsbury Chem., Inc., 613 N.W.2d 275, 283 (Iowa 2000) (“The need for clarity in public policy is . . . recognized in our reluctance to search too far beyond our legislative pronouncements and constitution to find public policy to support an action.”). Otherwise, public policy is best left to our legislative branch of government to decide as representatives of the people. The question whether it is imprudent as a matter of law for a parent to waive legal liability on behalf of a child as a condition for the child‟s participation in an educational field trip is a matter for the legislature, not judges. If the subject of parental field trip waivers has surfaced in this state as a matter of public concern, the legislature can properly examine the issue and take any appropriate action. (emphasis mine)
Isn’t this what we’ve been saying about Iowa’s Defense of Marriage Act? What makes a public policy clear? Well I guess it was clear in that DOMA was passed. If the issue discussed was best handled legislatively why not the definition of marriage – which they already had.
Let’s be clear public policy is always best left to our legislative branch to decide as representatives of the people. Now it’s time to remind Mike Gronstal that he does represent us, and that Iowans made their will pretty clear in the matter.
Anyway, if Chief Justice Ternus dissented on the DOMA ruling in the manner she dissented on Galloway v. State, I would have been happy to vote yes on retention because then I would have some confidence she understands her proper role. Too little, too late I’m afraid.
HT: Dale Mastarone