A bill was introduced in the Iowa legislature which gives an instruction to the Board of Regents (which governs seven specific institutions). Relevant background information is that people registered to vote in Iowa can register "no party", or else Democrat / Republican (Libertarian and Green are apparently "non-party political affiliations"); this registration is a public record. The intent of the law is to regulate hiring or professors and instructors in said institutions so that the number of Democrats and the number of Republicans in faculty positions cannot diverge by more than 10%. Specifically, it says
A person shall not be hired as a professor or instructor member of the faculty at such an institution if the person’s political party affiliation on the date of hire would cause the percentage of the faculty belonging to one political party to exceed by ten percent the percentage of the faculty belonging to the other political party, on the date established by the board for determining the political party composition of the faculty.
(There is a provision to the effect that the the commissioner of elections shall turn over registration records annually so that the count can be done, though the mechanism of counting is unspecified. Given the reality of parties, only registered Democrats and Republicans are considered so independent and 3rd party voters aren't counted: it strictly compares the number of Democrats vs. Republicans, thus the number of D faculty cannot exceed the number of R faculty by more than 10%, or vice versa).
I am interested in how the courts could interpret the language "would cause" in this law. For the sake of argument (which means, I'm not saying it's true, I'm saying we have to make some factual assumptions in order to interpret the language), I will assume that across the seven institutions, jointly and severally, the number of registered Democrats holding faculty positions in such institutions currently exceeds the number of registered Republicans by more than 10%.
The ordinary meaning of "would cause X" is that a state of affairs X does not exist but if Y happens (and it's not just a coincidence – I'm avoiding 3K years of philosophical debate on "cause"), then X will be the case. The question is then whether, because that threshold is already exceeded (by assumption), no hiring causes the threshold to be exceeded, and therefore there would be no legal impediment to hiring an Iowa-registered Democrat to a faculty position.
To be clear: this is a bill, not a law; I do not claim it has any chance of being passed; I am not asking if it would be held to be unconstitutional on other grounds. This is just about case law and how courts interpret "would cause" or other language describing a change of state.