Iowa Judges Ousted : It's All Politics Three Iowa Judges who overturned the state's ban on same-sex marriage were defeated in Tuesday's voting.
NPR logo Iowa Judges Ousted

Iowa Judges Ousted

Iowa voters decided to remove three State Supreme Court justices who'd overturned an Iowa ban on same sex marriage last year. Out are Iowa Chief Justice Marsha Ternus and Justices David Baker and Michael Streit. The full seven member panel unanimously rejected the law but not all members faced a retention vote. The defeated judges issued a joint statement, thanking Iowans for their support and laying blame for their defeat:

"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."

Last month, Chief Justice Ternus gave a speech warning that special interest groups, such as Iowans for Freedom received out-of-state money to intimidate the judges for a single reason:

"(They want) our judges to be servants of this group's ideology, rather than servants of the law....they simply refuse to accept that an impartial, legally sound and fair reading of the law can lead to an unpopular decision."

Not true, says Bob Vander Plaats, the leader of Iowa For Freedom:

"If the Iowa Supreme Court will do this to marriage, every one of our freedoms, including gun rights and private property, is in danger of being usurped by activist judges who are unelected officials. Most  Americans believe that government is out of control. Now is the time to take a stand against the radical judicial activism of the Iowa Supreme Court."

Iowa's choice on judges will resonate for the next 14 months as presidential contenders start descending on the state, preparing for the first party caucuses. Republican candidates who have opposed same-sex marriage have won there, including Mike Huckabee in 2008 and Pat Robertson in 1988.