Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Iowa Faces Another Contested Supreme Court Retention Election Over 2009 Same-Sex Marriage Decision

In Iowa, state Supreme Court justices are appointed by the governor, but stand in retention elections one year after their first appointment, and every eight years after that.  In 2010, voters opposed to the state Supreme Court's unanimous decision supporting same-sex marriage ousted 3 of the 7 justices who voted to invalidate the state's law that had barred recognition of same-sex marriages. (See prior posting.) In November, another of the Justices who voted for the decision is up for retention and, according to the Des Moines Register, competing rallies by Justice David Wiggins' opponents and supporters are being held around the state.  Iowans for Freedom, who want Wiggins out of office, began a 4-day, 17 city bus tour with a rally at the Iowa State Capitol yesterday.  Among the speakers were former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum and former Iowa gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats.  A spokesman for the group said: "This is nothing personal against Justice Wiggins, understand. He’s just number four in a line of seven who committed a grievance against the people."

Meanwhile a group of lawyers, elected officials and Democratic activists are shadowing the “No Wiggins” campaign, defending the merit selection process. The president-elect of the Iowa State Bar Association said: "We don’t want to return to the days where politics have been injected into our system, and remove the fair and impartial courts that we have, well-respected throughout this country."