How Scared Should Iowa’s Gays Be Of the PAC Trying to Unseat 3 Pro-Gay Supreme Court Justices?

Rather than run as an Independent candidate for Iowa’s governor (after losing the Republican primary), Bob Vander Plaats told reporters yesterday he’s going to focus his energy on unseating three Iowa Supreme Court justices — Marsha Ternus, David Baker, and Michael Streit — who voted to affirm same-sex marriage. (It was a unanimous ruling.) That means he’s got a playdate with Common Sense, the Iowa PAC also working to keep the trio from passing a retention vote Nov. 2.

Should you be scared? Eh: “The Iowa committee has spent $2,272, and had $1,392 on hand as of July 15, campaign finance records show. The group is financed by the chairman, John Wacker of rural Garner, and his family farm. About a dozen people have joined the campaign, [spokesman Dennis] Guth said.”

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  • James UK

    This guy is out by 2 days. Halloween is October 31.

  • slobone

    Speaking as a resident of Iowa: First of all, this is a very peculiar idea. There are 7 justices on the Iowa Supreme Court, and the gay-marriage vote was unanimous. So it’s hard to see what the point is in ejecting the 3 who are up for retention votes in November. And it would have no effect whatsoever on past decisions including gay marriage.

    BUT — don’t go by how much money they’ve raised so far. He only announced this campaign on Friday. Raising money out of state is a distinct possibility. It’s not a good idea to be complacent, especially considering what happened with Prop 8.

    I’m a lot more concerned about whether the Republicans take over the legislature. If they do, they can put a referendum on gay marriage on the ballot. Which would most likely go against us, as it has everywhere else.

    I haven’t seen any polls on state races yet, it’s probably too early.

  • slobone

    PS However, Republican registration has increased, and Democratic registration decreased, as of the June primary. Democrats still lead Republicans by 699,972 to 644,838, but that’s a pretty narrow margin. If the GOP has a national sweep in November, it could be all over for marriage in Iowa.

  • L.

    @slobone: The question popped in my mind – Iowa Supreme Court judges can be taken off the bench? I’m not familiar with your state’s constitution, so I assumed that they could never be unseated, as with SCOTUS. How is it done, then?

  • slobone

    That’s right, judges serve terms of 8 years and face a retention election towards the end of each term. The voters vote yes or no on whether the judge stays in office — they don’t run against opponents. I don’t know whether any judge has ever been kicked out.

    The consensus is nobody’s paying any attention to this Vander Plaats guy — he ran unsuccessfully for governor in the Republican primary. This sounds like sour grapes to me.

  • L.

    @slobone: Ah, thanks for the explanation. I wonder how many states have some sort of similar systems in place – I naively assumed all judges remained as long as they so wished, like in SCOTUS.

  • Dan

    The largest group in Iowa is not Dems and Repubs; it is registered Independents.

    Also, the northwest of Iowa – the most conservative part – refused to oust a judge who had acknowledged a civil union, even though there was a campaign to oust him. Iowans simply are not as radical as rabid rightwing groups outside of Iowa wish Iowans would be. Iowa has a unique way of selecting judges in the first place that ensures they are more independent and level-headed; the average Iowan voter knows and appreciates this fact since an independent, fair and impartial judiciary is a hallmark of a healthy and lasting democracy that upholds human rights.

  • JAW

    The Supreme court in New Jersey has it’s own funky rules.
    The Justices are nominated by the Governor. They are confirmed by the Senate and their initial term is for 7 years. Tradition has been that the sitting Governor nominate the for a term till they reach retirement age at 70.

    Our current wonderful republiclan Governor christie has broken with tradition and declined to re-appoint a Justice that was pro gay and will appoint an anti gay justice.

    Life sucks state by state.

  • Disgusted Gay American

    as a resident of NJ – I hope everyday that Fat Fuck,Krispie Creme Christie STROKES OUT and drops dead.

  • slobone

    @Dan you’re right that more voters are registered as Independents than as either Reps or Dems. But that may have something to do with the Iowa caucus that’s held every presidential year. It’s the first in the nation so it’s considered extremely important.

    Last time around I was registered as a Democrat and I was harassed unmercifully. By Democratic candidates, of course! A non-stop barrage of mailings, phone calls, and volunteers at my door. Six calls just on the day of the caucus.

    This time around, I’m going to change my registration to independent until the last minute…

  • CaliberGuy

    @L.: no matter of fact in WA state there where 3 justice up for election,(with one granted as she is not running against any one) as their 6 year terms are up which gave an opportunity to vote the anti gay justice most vocal about the state not doing enough to ban gay marriage 9 years ago when the court upheld our DOMA, as well as place more labor friendly judge on the court. A win win.

  • [email protected]

    @Slobone and Dan, as a resident of Iowa (the west-central area) I hope both you guys are right!

    Personally, however, I wish that I could register as a Socialist here in Iowa (the actual Political party that I belong to), but that party never seems to be available on the form.

Comments are closed.