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Iowa Supreme Court rules on steel wheels for Mennonites

This news story was published on February 3, 2012.
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OSAGE  –  The Iowa Supreme Court ruled in favor of a religious group called the Mennonites regarding the use of tractors with steel wheels on roads.

In its February 3rd decision, the Court reversed a lower court’s decision that favored Mitchell County, where much of the group resides.  The case will now go back to district court.

Click here to read the ruling.

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25 Responses to Iowa Supreme Court rules on steel wheels for Mennonites

  1. Avatar

    Captain Fred Reply Report comment

    February 4, 2012 at 10:59 pm

    I’m confused about MOST of these comments here. This story is about an Iowa Supreme Court RULING. As such, your PERSONAL opinions of this case basically mean SQUAT! This is about the LAW…NOT a platform for personal beliefs. From reading these comments, it’s quite obvious that the MAJORITY of the commentators have NOT read the ruling. Or they did NOT understand it. Either way, your comments are moot. And your OPINIONS are TOTALLY irrelevant. The Iowa Supreme Court has spoken. They explained their reasoning in their ruling. Oh…Perhaps if the Justices had included PICTURES in their written ruling, MORE of you MIGHT understand how FOOLISH your inane comments sound?

    • Avatar

      Captain Fred Reply Report comment

      February 4, 2012 at 11:11 pm

      This ruling ALSO points out (among OTHER factual details) that ILLEGALLY OVERWEIGHT semis (tractor/trailers) ALSO damage roads.

    • Avatar

      fancy free Reply Report comment

      February 5, 2012 at 7:56 am

      Captain Fred,
      You are quite right. Our opinions are moot. However, we enjoy sharing them – which is what this forum is for, is it not?
      I did read the complete ruling but am also trying to provide some background information from which this whole situation evolved from – local events that others, who haven’t followed this issue as closely, may not be aware of.

  2. Avatar

    Observer Reply Report comment

    February 4, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    As I predicted months and months ago, Walk, Walk & Company were facing a constitutional challenge. I was correct. W. W. & Co. violated the rights of a religion by creating a law, without compelling state interests, aimed specifically at that religion. W. W. & Co. were incorrect (more like arrogant) in their thinking that what was at stake was tradition [sic], in reality, it is religious law. Experts came forward to explain to W. W. & Co. about Amish and Mennonite communities, and how they function and exist today. W. W. & Co. refused to take heed.

    If this case or others under the Mitchell County amended law continues to SCOTUS, the results will be the same as in Iowa. In it’s base, it is a form of religious persecution. (Backed up by many decades of legal decisions). Maybe W. W. & Co. need to go back to school and learn about our Constitution?

    • Avatar

      fancy free Reply Report comment

      February 4, 2012 at 4:48 pm

      Thank you, Observer, for a logical and knowledgeable opinion- well thought and well- written.

    • Avatar

      Observer Reply Report comment

      February 4, 2012 at 5:01 pm

      You are quite welcome. I am not a lawyer, but a student of law. We as citizens must always remember that the rights of others, are also our own rights. To violate against one group, is to violate against everyone. Especially one so fundamental to our way of life in America.

  3. Avatar

    biker Reply Report comment

    February 4, 2012 at 11:11 am

    Thank you anonymous you get it & terry you are reading my point backwords religion does not give you the right to destroy public property that you & i the taxpayers have to pay for, get it !!!! & fancy free i am not jealous but think about it would the d.o.t let Mckiness Excavating drive there D-8 dozer down north iowa streets from job to job, think not really get a clue. There are some that hide behind the pew. Laws are laws just because we don’t like some of them.So don’t use religion to get out of them !!!!!!!

    • Avatar

      fancy free Reply Report comment

      February 4, 2012 at 4:46 pm

      Those who have been following this issue are aware that the Mennonites have offered to pay for the road damage, to set up a fund to pay for it, etc. The Mitchell County supervisors have repeatedly refused these offers. Instead, after refusing to allow the steel wheels on concrete roads, they then decided to extend it to gravel roads as well.
      A neighboring Mennonite farmer offered to pay thousands toward the repair of a gravel road he was accused of damaging. They raised the repair bill even higher than originally quoted and billed him for the entire amount- even though heavy tractor trailers loaded with hogs also used that stretch of gravel road.
      The heavily loaded tractor trailers have done far more damage to the roads in our area than the steel wheels ever have. The huge machinery used to put up the wind towers have certainly done far more damage!
      The concrete so recently poured has already required repair- in an area which has NEVER been driven by steel wheels. Pieces have broken out of the road where it was only poured 2″ thick, rather than the 4″ thickness the county paid for. Mark Walk was made aware of this but never came to check into it.
      Furthermore, the concrete is poured over blacktop with NO re-rod to re-enforce the concrete as is done on regular highway projects. It is a small wonder that the new roads are breaking up – with and without the steel wheels.

  4. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    February 4, 2012 at 9:07 am

    I agree everyone has the right to follow their own religious beliefs, but that doesn’t mean everyone else should be forced to pay for it. The steel wheels do damage to roads the taxpayers of Mitchel County have to pay for. I say if you want to drive buggies and tractors with steel wheels fine. Then you pay a very sizable tax for having a vehicle with steel wheels.

  5. Avatar

    fancy free Reply Report comment

    February 4, 2012 at 7:52 am

    Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian. You sound like you’re jealous that the Supreme Court decided to defend their right to follow the decrees of their church – which were in place long before the traffic laws of which you continually refer to.

  6. Avatar

    fancy free Reply Report comment

    February 4, 2012 at 7:49 am

    I am glad the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Mennonites. While they do not believe in joining the armed forces, (a belief that began back in the feudal system when peasants were required to fight for their liege lord whenever he wanted to take some of his neighbors land)they do participate in disaster relief work and volunteer work all over the US.
    They obey the law in practically every way unless that law directly contradicts their church decrees. The rules of their church do no harm to anyone or put them at risk (as speeding and running stop signs would). Just because they choose a different lifestyle does not mean they should be discriminated against.
    And the Mitchell County supervisors who were so anxious to enforce this statute? Oh, yes, they were the ones who wrote and signed a complaint letter against a state trooper for (gasp!) enforcing OWI laws in their county! They care far more for the concrete roads than the safety of their citizens, apparently.

  7. Avatar

    terry Reply Report comment

    February 4, 2012 at 7:37 am

    Biker, dont give me the religion speech or excuse!! I go to church and still obey the laws. So dont give me that crap! And if you do want to use that excuse, just look at the amish group, their religion says no motor vehicle use. Dont know if you have opened your eyes, but dont think for a minute that they dont hesitate about jumping in a fricken vehicle for a ride or use someones vehicle to haul things. Either way, our laws are ours and everyone needs to go by them!!!

    • Avatar

      Observer Reply Report comment

      February 4, 2012 at 3:40 pm

      In the ways of the Amish and Mennonites, there are two laws. First is Biblical Law, which they all follow. Next is the Ordnung, which may very from community to community. Ordnung depends upon the community, which may very from Orthodox to Conservatives (the same as Jews). While a conservative order may allow motor vehicles, others may not. The aims are the same, and that is to be separate from the ‘world’ as the Bible tells them to be. This has evolved since the first Anabaptists came to America.

    • Avatar

      Observer Reply Report comment

      February 4, 2012 at 3:48 pm

      Terry, I suggest you read the Supreme Court of the United States ruling in Wisconsin v. Yoder, and them come back and see if you can honestly back up your statement. Your desired to break the law, are not compelling enough to pass what our courts have set as a threshold.

  8. Avatar

    Jim Reply Report comment

    February 4, 2012 at 7:23 am

    If a person doesn’t want to defend our country, then they should not have any rights………….

    • Avatar

      hhhhhmmmmm.... Reply Report comment

      February 4, 2012 at 6:42 pm

      So a disabled person, mentally challenged person, or elderly person shouldnt have any rights because they cant/havent defended this country… I fail to see the logic in this at all! What should we do with the ones that dont vote, Jim??? FLOG THEM YOU SAY? lol

  9. Avatar

    biker Reply Report comment

    February 3, 2012 at 10:25 pm

    Just a thought if my religion says i can speed because i dont believe in speed laws, or by the way stop signs & why not just drink & drive because my personal religion does not recognize your laws, what next total chaos. think about it !!

  10. Avatar

    terry Reply Report comment

    February 3, 2012 at 10:03 pm

    captain fred, i know that there has been a buttload of taxpayer money used on this whole thing. I think its a joke but i do believe that the mennonite community thinks they can do what ever they want too and dont have to obey the laws. Same goes for the amish community. Neither one wants to stand for the country or the flag, i kind of look down on that crap and now we need to feel bad for this kid and the others that think that the law doesnt pertain to them????

  11. Avatar

    Captain Fred Reply Report comment

    February 3, 2012 at 7:47 pm

    Oh, c’mon now! Display your “intelligence” by basing your opinions and comments AFTER you have read the entire ruling!

  12. Avatar

    Captain Fred Reply Report comment

    February 3, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    Ah, but perhaps TERRY is more knowledgeable than the Iowa Supreme Court. PERSONAL OPINIONS OF THE CONSTITUTION AND/OR LAWS ARE PRETTY MUCH IRRELEVANT. Mitchell County has ALREADY spent MANY taxpayer dollars trying to enforce a rule that was found to be UNCONSTITUTIONAL.

  13. Avatar

    Captain Fred Reply Report comment

    February 3, 2012 at 7:23 pm


    Which part of this Iowa Supreme Court ruling…and/or the U.S. Constitution went ENTIRELY over your head here? From your inane question, sounds like pretty much ALL of it.

  14. Avatar

    terry Reply Report comment

    February 3, 2012 at 7:02 pm

    how much taxpayer money is going to be used throughout this process?? At least the mennonite community is helping provide a new job for the local sheriff or state troopers to make extra patrols and look for those wheels going across the highway!!

  15. Avatar

    Captain Fred Reply Report comment

    February 3, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    The announcement here of the Iowa Supreme Court’s ruling against Mitchell County can only be understood by actually reading the entire ruling. While much of this ruling consists of legal precedents and legal terms, the average person should be able to glean enough from this document to comprehend the reasoning behind the Jurists’ decision.