October 5, 2010

CAN YOU HEAR US NOW?:

Three Iowa judges may face voters' retaliation (Grant Schulte, USA TODAY)

Three Iowa Supreme Court justices who were part of a unanimous decision last year to allow same-sex marriage may pay the price next month as voters decide whether to keep them on the bench.

A Des Moines Register Iowa Poll released Monday shows that 44% of Iowans who plan to vote in the retention election say they will vote "yes" to all three justices; 40% say they will vote to remove all three; and 16% say they want to retain some.

Scholars who study judge-selection practices said the removal of even one justice would shock judiciaries across the nation, embolden conservative activists and could open the door to changes in the way Iowa chooses judges.

"Those poll numbers are stunning," said Brian Fitzpatrick, a Vanderbilt University associate law professor who has followed Iowa's retention debate. "It is virtually unheard of for a judge to lose a retention race."

No Iowa Supreme Court justice has lost a seat since the state adopted a merit-selection and retention system in 1962.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 5, 2010 5:18 AM
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