Iowa Supreme Court Justices: We Did The Right Thing, Move On

Like plenty of on lookers, I find it sort of appalling that Iowa’s Supreme Court justices must whore themselves out to voters to re-up for additional terms, but that’s how they do things in the State Of Gay Marriage. So while they must fend off attacks from NOM (and others, about how their same-sex marriage decision is going to bring incest to the state), they must parade around like political candidates before the editorial boards of newspapers. Like Chief Justice Marsha Ternus and Justice David Baker did yesterday before the Cedar Rapids Gazette, defending their decision not to return the marriage case back to the legislature, because while “the legislature is free to amend the constitution,” it is the court’s job to decide whether those laws are constitutional. The constitution is the “supreme law of the land,” and groups like Iowa for Freedom are trying to circumvent it.

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    Damm activist judges………….

  • Cam

    True Bravery, unlike the White House, these people felt that an unconstitutional law should be struck down in spite of what it would do to their chances for reelection. I wish some of these folks would run for Senate, we could use a few more backbones in that chamber.

  • ChicagoJimmy

    Electing judges is one of the stupidest things in America.

  • Mo

    I live in Iowa and let me tell you I think the 3 judges on the ballot are toast and it is really sad. I agree the process we have here is flawed! What do we want? Judges knocking on doors? Attacking each other and raising money instead of being “above the Frey” as they should be?

    No, and the judges with their jobs on the line aren’t doing this thank god. They are just being bullied by the right with lots of TV, radio, and print ads (more than many of the other people on the ballot this cycle actually) that want us all to vote NO on “Activist judges”. How do you defend yourself from that if you are a working Supreme Court Judge?

    Before gay marriage was legalized in Iowa Republicans and church-goers in Iowa didn’t give two craps about judges in the state like the rest of us. We all just filled in “retain” because no one knew anything about these people. We still really don’t, besides they are smart enough to uphold the law as they see it. I guess that is enough to spur a Republican witch hunt to drive the churchies to the polls.

    With a Republican Governor most likely on the way back in in my state(Terry Branstad) it makes it more likely that gay marriage in Iowa will be overturned at some point in the future. This is just the first step, getting rid of the progressives to replace them with conservative “activists” and pushing back against the tide of progress.

  • tinkerbell

    Take a look at those faces…there are some very honorable faces there who can take pride in doing the right thing. A majority of those 7 are honorable justices who actually believe in justice. They are truly honorable, patriotic Americans.

  • Ran

    Part of the problem is that the opposition is more organized and have greater financial support. Where are the counter-messages, where is the repositioning. When you let your opponents advertising walk all over you you’re gonna have a harder time winning, selling and making gains. Mo gave ideas for some excellent campaigns just in describing what’s happening. Where is our advertising, PR machine?

  • Rainfish

    So….why isn’t HRC using some cash from their vast political war-chest (that is, if they can pry it out of Obama’s poisoned talons); then take some that loot stolen from their deluded membership and run political ads day and night in support of these excellent judges and their courageous decision in defense of marriage equality and human dignity?


    Geeze to all those so quick to hit the thumbs down on #1…in case you are unaware every time a ruling is made in favor of us the rightwing nutbags claim it was the fault of liberal “activist judges” but when the rulings go their way, the judges are simply doing their jobs……

  • Daez

    @Mo: Judges make rulings on cases. There isn’t merit for a case to ban gay marriage. Therefore, its the Iowa legislative branch you need to pay close and careful attention to not the Iowa judicial. To overturn their ruling, you would need an amendment to the Iowa state constitution. Which, if its anything like any other constitution, will require 3/4 of the people to accomplish. So in short, these judges committed political suicide to grant the gay population a long standing commitment of equal and fair treatment in the state of Iowa. If only Obama would throw himself on the sword in such a manner.

  • the crustybastard

    Congratulations SCOIA! You’ve won the Giant Gold Comb Award. Hold it up for everyone to see, and….smile!

  • Iowegian

    Iowa’s judicial system is the same as in over 30 other states. A nominating commission composed of at least 1/2 lawyers interviews applicants and sends names on to the governor. For lower court judges they send two names, for the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals they send three names. The governor must choose from the list. The appointment is for life, subject to the retention votes every six years and mandatory retirement at 72.

    The justices are not running in contested elections. The vote is either keep them or toss them. The retention vote is a safety valve to ensure that lemons can be squeezed out of the system.

    A major part of the reason the lawsuit was filed in Iowa is because we have a very drawn out process for amending the state Constitution. The legislature has to approve an amendment. Then a general election must occur (which only happens in even numbered years). Then the next legislature has to approve the same amendment. Then the amendment must be approved by a majority of voters.

    Since the current legislature took no action on an amendment, the next legislature would have to approve one and then the legislature that takes office in January 2013 would have to approve it, and then the voters.

    The overlooked glitch is that 2010 is a year in which the Constitution requires the ballot to include a question on whether or not to call a Constitutional Convention (the question must appear on the general ballot at least once every ten years). If the voters approve a convention, nothing is off limits, but any amendments approved there must be submitted to popular vote.

    The governor has no formal role in the process.

  • Truther8

    Iowa “Judges” seem to routinely violate their oaths of office. They violate the Constitution with impunity. Revoke their pensions. Taxpayers deserve honest services and these frauds, operating under color of law, need to be held accountable for the lives they destroyed. Want proof ? Look at Iowa Supreme Ct. case no. 10-0344 (on appeal from Scott CO. case LACE112272) No proof of jurisdiction, No proof of injuries or damages. No Verifiable Complaint as REQUIRED by law (City of Cedar Rapids v Astinger), just a constructive denial of due process by the good ole boy culture of court corruption at all levels in Iowa’s judiciary. The defendant’s property is WITHIN CITY CODE, yet these “judges” refused to hear the truth unless this innocent citizen pay money to an officer of the court! Is that not extortion ? Fraud ? And they prosecute from the bench and testify too! Look at CITY OF DAVENPORT vs. Kenneth Tennant. Magistrate Doug Wells brazenly said he didn’t want to hear anything about the Constitution and proceeded to prosecute from the bench with impunity! NO accountability. The JQC is less than objective. REVOKE THEIR PENSIONS.

  • Jaroslaw

    #7 Rainfish – do you really think anyone would take seriously an ad by HRC if they were already against SSM?

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