“Issue Advocacy” at Its Worst

IMAGE SOURCE: Judgebus.com

Anti-gay groups are pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars to unseat Iowa judges in the upcoming election. The vote “No Retention” campaign was launched in retaliation against last year’s state Supreme Court ruling to allow same-sex marriage.


While Iowan judges are appointed based on merit, they are required to face a “retention election” to remain in office. The anti-retention ploy by conservatives have raised concerns on preserving judicial independence:


Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Marsha Ternus on Tuesday said that efforts to unseat justices because of last year’s gay-marriage ruling are an attempt to intimidate judges and force the opponents’ political beliefs on the courts.

Ternus said Iowa For Freedom “wants our judges to be servants of this group’s ideology, rather than servants of the law.” She disputed claims that the justices twisted the law to fit their political views.

“Although this may hold some popular appeal, in reality it is just not true,” Ternus told a crowd of 50 at Iowa State University’s Memorial Union. “These critics are blinded by their own ideology. They simply refuse to accept that an impartial, legally sound and fair reading of the law can lead to an unpopular decision.”

In the midst of the hysteria, there has been little discussion about the serious – and potentially “crippling” – impact on the judicial system should voters choose to remove all the judges on the ballot.

“I don’t think any of us can contemplate the breakdown of our legal system should anything close to what they’re proposing take place,” said Former Republican lieutenant governor Art Neu.

Associated Press, 10/25/10


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Financial Backers of the Vote “No Retention” Campaign

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