Saturday, April 11, 2009

Law, Feelings, and Religion at the Bar in Iowa

by Matthew J. Franck
April 07, 2009

The Supreme Court of Iowa’s decision to redefine marriage abandons reason and replaces it with feelings as the standard of public consensus.

What happens when judicial arrogance becomes so habitual as to become second nature? This past Friday, April 3, the Supreme Court of Iowa provided an answer: judicial arrogance transforms into smug self-deception. This is not the question the court thought it was answering. It claimed to be addressing the question of whether “exclusion of a class of Iowans from civil marriage”—namely the “class” of “gay and lesbian people” who wish to marry others of the same sex—can be justified by the state. But the opinion for a unanimous court in Varnum v. Brien, written by Justice Mark Cady, actually says very little about matters of such justification. By contrast, it speaks volumes about the extent to which American judicial power, having burst free of all constraints, is now in the grip of a banal routinization of tyranny so complete that the tyrants do not recognize their own character as they blandly overturn many centuries of civilization in a day’s work.

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