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In the News: Iowa View--It's time to restore access to justice
Submitted by matty on Tue, 2012-05-01 12:28
from The Des Moines Register.
written by Mark Cady, Chief Justice of the Iowa Supreme Court.
President Dwight Eisenhower established Law Day in 1958, stating, “The principle of guaranteed fundamental rights of individuals under the law is the heart and sinew of our nation, and distinguishes our governmental system from the type of government that rules by might alone.”
The American Bar Association has designated the theme of this year’s Law Day, which is today, to be “No Courts, No Justice, No Freedom.” This theme emphasizes “the importance of the courts and their role in ensuring access to justice for all Americans.” It also draws attention to the fact that deep cuts in court budgets throughout the nation, including Iowa, have compromised the people’s access to justice.
The fundamental role of our courts is to fairly and impartially resolve legal disputes and protect legal rights. Most people know that the courts have a crucial role in the criminal justice system. Many people, however, do not appreciate the crucial role of the courts in other facets of our lives.
Many of us will someday depend on access to the courts for resolution of a serious and potentially life-changing personal and legal crisis.
Abused and neglected children depend on our courts for timely placements in safe and stable homes. Victims of violence depend on our courts for protective and no-contact orders to help shield them from further harm. Business owners depend on our courts to resolve contractual disputes that undermine productivity and profits. Broken families depend on our courts to provide some measure of order to their lives. We all depend on courts to safeguard the rule of law, which fosters a civil, stable, and vibrant society.
Founding Father John Adams once said that ours is a “government of laws, not of men.” For this to hold true, we must maintain open, accessible and sufficiently staffed courts. All Iowans deserve a justice system that safeguards the rule of law on a full-time basis. Anything less secures no freedom.