DES MOINES (KWWL) -- For the first time in Iowa history, voters have removed 3 Iowa Supreme Court Justices.
Chief Justice Marsha Ternus, Justice David Baker and Justice Michael Streit were up for retention votes, needing a simple majority to retain their seats. Iowa judges are not elected, but voters decide whether to retain the judges.
The Iowa Supreme decided last year that an Iowa law restricting marriage to one man and one woman violated the state's constitution. Gay marriage opponents spends hundreds of thousands of dollars to convince voters to reject the justices because of the decision. A group of former governors, lawyers and judges formed to fight on behalf of the judges saying Iowa's independent judiciary is at risk if a one-issue campaign succeeds in removing the justices.
Two of the judges are from eastern Iowa. Chief Justice Ternus grew up in Benton County and attended the University of Iowa. She was the first woman to serve as Chief Justice. Justice Baker grew up in Waterloo, attended the University of Iowa and currently lives in Cedar Rapids.
The following statement was sent by the justices to the Des Moines Register:
It was our great privilege to serve the people of Iowa for many years. Throughout our judicial service we endeavored to serve the people of Iowa by always adhering to the rule of law, making decisions fairly and impartially according to the law, and faithfully upholding the constitution.
We wish to thank all of the Iowans who voted to retain us for another term. Your support shows that many Iowans value fair and impartial courts. We also want to acknowledge and thank all the Iowans, from across the political spectrum and from different walks of life, who worked tirelessly over the past few months to defend Iowa's high-caliber court system against an unprecedented attack by out-of-state special interest groups.
Finally, we hope Iowans will continue to support Iowa's merit selection system for appointing judges. This system helps ensure that judges base their decisions on the law and the Constitution and nothing else. Ultimately, however, the preservation of our state's fair and impartial courts will require more than the integrity and fortitude of individual judges, it will require the steadfast support of the people.
Chief Justice Marsha Ternus
Associate Justice Michael Streit
Associate Justice David Baker