Judge retention issue hits Cedar Valley Tuesday - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Judge retention issue hits Cedar Valley Tuesday


A bright red bus rolled into Cedar Falls Tuesday afternoon to greet a group of people already "on board" with the message.

"I really am not very happy that we're not able to vote on issues, that the court makes decisions outside of the executive branch," said Margaret Jessen, who plans to vote "no" on retaining Justice David Wiggins.

The Family Leader President, Bob Vander Platts, is spearheading the No Wiggins tour. His view is that Iowans should remove the judges who ruled in the Varnum case, a decision which legalized same-sex marriage in Iowa.

"Marriage was the issue, but it's all about freedom. If they'll do this to marriage, they'll do it to any one of the freedoms that you hold dear. Whether it be private property, religious beliefs, or how you educate your children. So we're asking people to take a stand and vote "no" on Wiggins on November 6th," said Vander Platts.

Even after watching three of his peers ousted in 2010, Wiggins is refusing to campaign for his own retention. So the Iowa State Bar Association is doing it for him on the "Yes Iowa Judges" tour.

"We want Iowans to hear the other side of the story," said former ISBA president Dan Moore.

Moore said, two years ago they were taken off-guard by the opposition. This year, they've rented their own truck, and are going toe-to-toe with the "No Wiggins" tour.

Moore told a crowd in Waterloo Tuesday, the Varnum decision was an interpretation of existing law, not the creation of a new law. Those planning to vote "yes" say, Iowans should not oust a judge because they disagree with one outcome.

"The vote to retain or not to retain a judge on just one issue is not good for Iowa," said Pam Hays, who created signs in favor of retaining Wiggins.

Vander Platts continues to argue, it's not just about one issue. Moore then asks, what about the million or so other cases filed in Iowa courts each year?

"Of all those decisions the judges make, of all the court decisions, they haven't cited one other decision that caused any kind of concern at all. So I think that, by saying this is the principle of this, is just another misleading statement that they're putting out," said Moore.

Both groups do have one thing in common -- the goal to arm voters with (what they see as) the facts, and hope the decision is in their favor in November.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal will join the "No Wiggins" tour for stops in Mason City, Marshalltown, Fort Dodge, and Carroll Wednesday. The "Yes Iowa Judges" bus will also make stops in each of these communities.

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