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Judges face voter anger over gay marriage decision

 
 
Reply Wed 20 Oct, 2010 08:24 am
A heated campaign is under way in Iowa, where conservatives hope to unseat three of the state's Supreme Court justices following a ruling last year that cleared the way for same-sex marriage.

Judges in Iowa are appointed, not elected. And the periodic "yes or no" ballot questions on whether to keep them on the bench are usually low-key affairs. But in several states, anger over recent court decisions is turning the normally sleepy judicial elections — known as retention votes — into pitched battles.

More....

Iowa chief justice Marsha Ternus, one of the targets of the anti-retention campaign, spoke at Iowa State, saying "that efforts to unseat justices because of last year's gay-marriage ruling are an attempt to intimidate judges and force the opponents' political beliefs on the courts." A spokesman for the group Iowa for Freedom, which is leading the effort to unseat the judges, responded: "We want people on the bench who respect and follow the Constitution, not legislate from the bench, execute from the bench and try to amend the very document they took an oath protect."

So, is this a proper use of the judicial retention ballot? To remove judges who make unpopular decisions rather than weeding out the corrupt or incompetent? Are judicial elections even a good idea?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 4 • Views: 1,561 • Replies: 9
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High Seas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 20 Oct, 2010 09:16 am
@joefromchicago,
joefromchicago wrote:
...So, is this a proper use of the judicial retention ballot? To remove judges who make unpopular decisions rather than weeding out the corrupt or incompetent? Are judicial elections even a good idea?

Iowa is one of several states in which judges can be voted out; if judicial elections were not challenged in the past in any of these states, why should they be now? There is ample precedent of judge recalls by the voters in California, especially when they overturned propositions duly passed in the state:
Quote:
.. In 1986, Rose E. Bird, the chief justice of the California Supreme Court, was voted out along with two other justices after a contentious campaign that focused on her opposition to the death penalty. The current chief justice in California, Ronald M. George, who wrote the opinion that briefly legalized same-sex marriage (and later the opinion that upheld the voter-approved ban, Proposition 8), would face a similar campaign but he decided to retire rather than stand for re-election...

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/25/us/politics/25judges.html
0 Replies
 
High Seas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 20 Oct, 2010 10:12 am
@joefromchicago,
joefromchicago wrote:

...To remove judges who make unpopular decisions rather than weeding out the corrupt or incompetent...

Legal question: if stare decisis (re USSC precedent) as well as propositions duly passed by state voters, are being routinely ignored by state courts, isn't this proof the judges are incompetent? Especially if they also refuse to grant a stay until the USSC rules on the case? Viz. dissent from 1944 USSC case:
Quote:
It is regrettable that in an era marked by doubt and confusion, an era whose greatest need is steadfastness of thought and purpose, this court, which has been looked to as exhibiting consistency in adjudication, and a steadiness which would hold the balance even in the face of temporary ebbs and flows of opinion, should now itself become the breeder of fresh doubt and confusion in the public mind as to the stability of our institutions.

http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?navby=search&court=US&case=/us/321/649.html
djjd62
 
  1  
Reply Wed 20 Oct, 2010 10:29 am
this is why everyone needs to vote for Jimmy McMillan and the "Rent Is Too Damn High" Party, his stance on gay marriage, if you want to marry a shoe, i'll marry you

everybody everywhere, get the sticks out your asses, it's just a stupid wedding, who cares who's standing at the altar
0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Wed 20 Oct, 2010 11:15 am
@joefromchicago,
Quote:
"We want people on the bench who respect and follow the Constitution, [as we misread it] not legislate from the bench, [unless we like those particular decisions] execute from the bench and try to amend the very document they took an oath protect [forget about those equality provisions for now]."


0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Wed 20 Oct, 2010 12:17 pm
@High Seas,
High Seas wrote:
Legal question: if stare decisis (re USSC precedent) as well as propositions duly passed by state voters, are being routinely ignored by state courts, isn't this proof the judges are incompetent? Especially if they also refuse to grant a stay until the USSC rules on the case? Viz. dissent from 1944 USSC case:

I think you may have mis-read Roberts's opinion in Smith v. Allwright. But, in general, if judges aren't following the law, then one could certainly make the argument that they're not competent to serve as judges.
High Seas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 20 Oct, 2010 12:20 pm
@joefromchicago,
So, therefore, if there are valid legal grounds for claiming the judges are incompetent, whether they also ruled against vox populi isn't relevant.
0 Replies
 
InfraBlue
 
  1  
Reply Wed 20 Oct, 2010 04:03 pm
The issue isn't that propositions duly passed by state voters are being ignored by state courts, but that state courts are finding certain laws--specifically in this case Iowa's Defense of Marriage Act--unconstitutional.

The arguments are more along the lines of accusations of incompetence simply because the justices opine against the constitutionality of popular laws. Needless to say, popularity is not necessarily constitutional.
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slkshock7
 
  2  
Reply Wed 3 Nov, 2010 03:22 pm
And all three judges go down...
High Seas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Nov, 2010 03:32 pm
@slkshock7,
slkshock7 wrote:

And all three judges go down...

Down they went. The Iowa State Bar Association, which had supported the 3, made this announcement; love the word "but" in their text, don't you? Smile
Quote:
The ISBA says it is disappointed with the election results, but respects the decision by voters.
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