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A Changing Judiciary

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John Pemble / IPR
During his Condition of the Judiciary, acting Chief Justice David Wiggins says Iowa Supreme Court justices have the greatest respect for legislators and other state public officials.

Last year a law changed how justices make their way to the bench.  Senate Republicans supported the change because they claim some court rulings are examples of “judicial activism.”  Acting Chief Justice David Wiggins says the job of the court is to make sure laws don’t violate the constitution. This year, Senate Republicans are trying to pass a state constitutional amendment in response to a 2018 Iowa Supreme Court ruling about abortion access. This is also happening at a time when the governor will be appointing two new justices to the high court in 2020.

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During the 2019 legislative session Sen. Julian Garrett, R-Indianola, supported a bill changing how justices are appointed to the Iowa Supreme Court. He says some of the court rulings overturning laws amounted to “legislating from the bench.”
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In February 2019, Gov. Kim Reynolds addresses an anti abortion rally in the Capitol’s rotunda. She says because Republicans maintained the majority from the 2018 election, they will appoint judges that do “not inject their own philosophy” into rulings.
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Sen. Jake Chapman, R-Adel, chairs a Senate State Government subcommittee and supports a resolution adding language to the state constitution that says abortion access is not a constitutional right.
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Sen. Claire Celsi, D-West Des Moines, is a panelist on a Senate State Government subcommittee and says the resolution will lead to infringing on the freedom and fundamental rights of women
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Martin Cannon from the Thomas More Society tells the subcommittee the resolution does not prohibit abortion.
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Jordanne Beach from Urbandale testifies at the subcommittee to oppose the resolution.

John Pemble is a reporter for IPR