Iowa Supreme Court justices face political battle - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa Supreme Court justices face political battle

DES MOINES (KWWL) -- The November elections are right around the corner and while many people are focusing on the race for governor, a small group is working to unseat three Iowa Supreme Court justices.

This group was created by former governor candidate Bob Vander Plaats in response to the supreme court's ruling in favor of gay marriage.

"When you allow a court to take freedom's that aren't theirs to take we'll get tyranny and not liberty," Vander Plaats said.

The State of Iowa works under a merit system where citizens are given the opportunity retain a judge or not after their term limit is up. The merit system in Iowa began in 1962.

UNI Political Science Professor Scott Peters says the court system is seen more as policy maker since taking on the issues revolving around discrimination.

"You will start to see a lot of interest group activity and political party activity to try and control the judiciary," Peters said.

To make an informed decision in November the Iowa Judicial Branch has created a website, which gives background on all judges up for retention including those on the Supreme Court.

"There's no other candidate on the ballot, there's no competition it's simply should we keep this person in office or not," Peters said.

The group Iowa for Freedom will have to take on history if they think they will unseat three judges because in almost forty years only four judges have not been retained.

"I think we have a realistic shot seeing all three supreme court justices be unseated and send a message that the people of Iowa believe in a government of the people ,by the people, and for the people," Vander Plaats said.

A bipartisan, nonprofit group calling itself Iowans for Fair and Impartial Courts has formed to defend the three Iowa Supreme Court justices. Officials with the group say it was created just to take on its rival Iowa for Freedom.

Online Reporter: John Wilmer


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