Monday, May 14, 2012

Iowa Supreme Court Justice Ready to Defend his Record Over Upcoming Retention Vote

Two years ago, three of Iowa's Supreme Court justices were defeated in a retention vote, largely due to the efforts of thrice-failed gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats, as well as a ton of out-of-state money from groups like the National Organization for Marriage and the American Family Association. It was a big shock to many I know, including tons of attorneys and judges that I know in my day-to-day life. Part of the problem during the last retention vote was that the justices stayed out of the fray. They wanted to keep the process pure. By the time they began to respond to attacks, it was too late.

This November, one of Iowa's Supreme Court justices is up for a retention vote. However, Iowa Supreme Court Justice David Wiggins isn't going to sit around and passively listen while out-of-state culture warriors destroy his career or character:
“If someone wants to attack me, I’m not going to let them bully me,” Wiggins said in a telephone interview last week with The Des Moines Register. “If asked to, I’ll speak up for myself. The others didn’t do that last time. I will.”

Wiggins this fall will become the fourth member of Iowa’s highest court to stand for a retention vote since the court issued a landmark 2009 decision legalizing same-sex marriage in the state. The unanimous Varnum v. Brien decision, which outraged social conservatives, made Iowa the first Midwestern state to sanction gay marriage.
BVP's The FAMiLY LEADER is already crowing about their fund-raising efforts to defeat Wiggins and to destroy my family and other gay families like it.

However, it may be difficult for anti-gay voters to vote out Wiggins without harming his newest co-workers on the Iowa Supreme Court -- justices who had nothing to do with the Varnum V. Brien case that struck down the state's DOMA law and led the way for marriage equality in this state:
Wiggins will share November’s retention ballot with the three new justices who replaced Ternus, Streit and Baker. They are Edward Mansfield, Thomas Waterman and Bruce Zager. Any political campaign against Wiggins would require that would-be voters remember his name...

“Last time it was pretty easy because they all voted ‘no’ on all Supreme Court justices,” (ONE Iowa's Calla) Rongerude said. “This time, they would have to single out just Wiggins, and I think that’s going to be harder.”

Plus, some attitudes have changed in the intervening years, Rongerude believes. Iowans now appear to be focused mostly on economic concerns, she said. “To quote the president, people have evolved on this issue,” she said. “Ultimately, I think Iowans have moved on. I don’t think they’ll take the bait of a fringe special-interest group. I don’t think they’ll do that again...”

1 comment:

Katy Anders said...

It's a shame that a judge can lose his job for doing the right thing. I'm not sure I like judges being elected.

Ten years ago here in Texas, we had a situation when Lawrence v. Texas was still in the state courts. A 3-judge panel fund the law unconstitutional. 2 of them were Republicans.

The state appealed to the full appeals court which included the 3 appeals panel judges who had voted the first time.

The state Republican Party told them if they didn't change their vote when it hit the en banc court, they would make sure they lost their seats.

So second time around, these judges found that the Constitution said something different!

I hope Iowa makes the right decision.