We need to keep balance in Iowa courts

Letter to the Editor

To the Editor,

     One thing should be made abundantly clear in regard to Rep. Hein and Zumbach’s promotions of SF 519, the “newest” legislation on agriculture trespass. It will very likely cost the taxpayers yet again to go to court to find that it violates the constitution the same as the bill that was passed in 2012 to protect farmers from being exposed to the public eye in their operations.

     There are laws currently on the books that govern trespass. What they really want is to cover up what many confinement operations do and will continue to do in violating laws that would be divulged simply by claiming “economic” harm.

     Secondly, the need to have a constitutional amendment for the right to keep and bear arms in unnecessary. The federal constitution provides this right to all states, which makes it a waste of time the legislature could be using to do more important business.

     As to the “balance of the judicial system,” Iowa’s courts are by far more balanced than many in the country. We currently use the people within the Iowa Bar Association to make selections of candidates they find have integrity and who are unbiased. It is set out in the Iowa Constitution as the way it is done. Turning that role over to the legislature puts a political spin on that selection, and frankly is unnecessary and an attempt to swing the courts in line with political views of legislators, a bias we don’t need.

     Judges rule based on law and best interpretation of that law based on legal principles. Adding politics to this will turn the courts inside out with decisions based on the favorite political answer of the day, not good legal principle.

     The process of change should be a constitutional amendment, not through one session of the legislature.

Steve Hanken

Monticello, Iowa



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