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Senate Journal: Page 60: Wednesday, January 14, 1998

  Unfortunately, there are forces working to undermine this important
  principle that
  has served our nation well for over two hundred years.  I'm talking about
  orchestrated campaigns to intimidate judges into entering decisions that
  favor specific
  outcomes over legal merits.  For example:

  ? Following the last general election, all Iowa Supreme Court justices
  copies of newspaper articles about the ouster of a Nebraska Supreme Court
  justice who was targeted for rulings that invalidated term limits for
  Nebraska elected officials.  The copies of the newspaper articles were from
  group called "Citizens for Common Sense Justice" out of Washington, D.C.
  Although the group didn't include a cover letter, its message was
  unmistakable- intimidation.

  ? Some of our district court judges have come under attack for their
  in hog lot cases.  These attacks are not based on the soundness of the
  legal analyses but on the critics' unhappiness with the outcome.  I've been
  told that anti-hog lot organizers, who came to the statehouse in November to
  attend the Supreme Court hearing of a hog lot case, reminded their followers
  to vote against the justices in the next retention election if the court
  rule in favor of the group's cause.

  ? Business associations in several Midwestern states have hired consultants
  evaluate judges for "anti-business" bias.

  ? During the 1996 presidential race, both candidates attacked a federal
  court judge in New York for his evidentiary ruling in a drug case.  The
  changed his order, forever calling into question his impartiality and

  These attacks and intimidation tactics do a grave disservice to the public.
  of the courts is not new and is to be expected.  For judges, criticism comes
  with the
  territory and we are entirely accustomed to it.  However, the kind of
  efforts I have just
  described threaten the integrity of our nation's justice system.

  Just what, then, is the condition of Iowa's judicial branch of government?
  The short
  answer is that it closely matches the condition of Iowa itself-good enough
  to be the
  source of pride but in constant need of attention.  Certain areas, such as
  juvenile court,
  need special attention just now.  Technology is an enormous help to Iowa's
  courts as we
  embark upon a new millennium.  Our greatest present threat is a frontal
  assault on
  judicial independence by some who would politicize and thereby destroy-or at
  severely damage-the courts' usefulness to our citizens.

  Finally, like our other two branches of government, courts do not belong to
  temporary incumbents but rather to the people who sent us all here.  Let us
  keep that
  foremost in our minds as we work together to make Iowa government a source
  lasting pride for us all.

  Chief Justice McGiverin was escorted from the House Chamber by
  the committee previously appointed.

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