3 Iowa Supreme Court justices face key vote Tuesday - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

3 Iowa Supreme Court justices face key vote Tuesday

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

There's a lot of noise in an election season, but for three candidates on the ballot, the silence is significant.

Three Iowa Supreme Court justices are up for retention votes.

Chief Justice Mark Cady, along with justices Daryl Hecht and Brent Appel, need a simple majority to remain on the bench.

They're facing voters for the first time since a controversial ruling in 2009.

That's when the court ruled unanimously to legalize gay marriage.

After that, Christian conservatives campaigned to get them off the bench.

Voters removed 3 in 2010 which marks the only time that's happened since Iowa went to a retention system more than 50 years ago.

The justices don't campaign because they believe the court should be above politics.

"They're just fine, fine, fine individuals, everyone in the judiciary. We're very fortunate here in Iowa, we really are," said John Wood from the Iowa State Bar Association.

Wood says they try to inform voters about judges through a performance review.

Almost 1,500 lawyers grade judges on a number of things: "Knowledge of the law, punctuality, courtroom decorum, timeliness of decisions, things that matter to Iowans," said Wood.

In the most recent review, Chief Justice Cady received a 91%, Justice Hecht an 88%, and Justice Appel an 82%. Click here to see those reviews.

There has not been a high-profile effort to campaign against the justices this time around. The Family Leader rejected KWWL's request for an interview, but gave a statement, saying in part, "We encourage Iowans to vote against retaining those judges who have used their office for political activism."

The bar association has a different view.

"There is a very concerted effort to come to the right result and the right ruling that is apolitical, that is unbiased that applies the laws to the facts of each individual case," said Wood.

Come Tuesday, we'll find out what the voters think.

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