Judge retention, Chief Justice Ternus visits Dubuque - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Judge retention, Chief Justice Ternus visits Dubuque


DUBUQUE (KWWL) -- Decision 2010 follows the retention vote for Iowa's three Supreme Court Justices. A group in Iowa is campaigning to remove Marsha Ternus, Michael Streit, and David Baker this November, stemming from their unanimous decision to allow gay marriage in Iowa. Thursday, Chief Justice Marsha Ternus defended the decision, speaking to a group at Loras College.

In a room full of students, staff, and community members, Chief Justice Marsha Ternus delivered a 45 minute guest lecture. While speaking about the role of the constitution in court cases, Ternus defended the court's decision to legalize gay marriage in Iowa. After explaining the Constitution and reading the rule of law, she said Iowa's judicial system works because of how judges are appointed.

Ternus was appointed by then-Governor Terry Branstad through a merit system; a system that she says helps make judges impartial. And while it's appropriate for politicians to consider public opinion on issues like gay marriage, she said it's never appropriate for a judge to make a decision on based on public opinion.

"Put it to the legislature to give us a constitutional amendment on a ballot," Iowa for Freedom spokesperson Chuck Laudner said.

Laudner from Iowa for Freedom, sponsored by the American Family Association, spoke to KWWL this week. He's a part of a campaign that's trying to oust Iowa's three Supreme Court Justices up for retention.

"We're upset with the decisions and the level of arrogance and level of unconstitutional rulings," Laudner said.

We requested an interview with Ternus, she declined. But in an interview with our coverage partners at the Dubuque Telegraph-Herald she said:

"Critics of the court want people to exercise their vote based on their own view of court decisions. If the people of Iowa agree with that, I think they're sending a message that we want you to decide cases based on public opinion. I think that would just be a horrible outcome if voters send the message."

Online Reporter: Lauren Squires

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