Targeted Iowa Justice Explains Concerns on Campaigning

Iowa Supreme Court Justice David Wiggins, the target of an ouster drive by conservatives, explains in a Des Moines Register op-ed why he has not launched a political campaign to fight back:

“Campaigns are political. They require candidates to count votes and appeal to donors. That system has created a big enough mess in Congress. It has no business in the courts. Judges should be beholden only to the constitution and the law. They should not please donors or appease potential critics. I do not want Iowa to end up like states with highly partisan courts. Iowa is better than that.”

“Iowans deserve to know more about their judges, but 30-second political ads are not the answer,” Justice Wiggins continues. The jurist, who is up for a retention (yes-or-no) election in the fall, then proceeds to discuss his biography and some of his views. His foremost critics are angry over a unanimous court decision that permitted same-sex couples to marry, and their ouster campaign in 2010 knocked three justices off the bench, but the political climate is different this year (see Gavel Grab).

A leader of critics seeking Justice Wiggins’ removal, Bob Vander Plaats, has his own commentary in the Des Moines Register. It is entitled,  “A tale of two conventions: 2 parties disagree whether God or government is source of our rights.” To learn more about Vander Plaats’s efforts, click here for Gavel Grab.

On the weekend, a fundraising event for Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, included pitches for support of Justice Wiggins, according to a Radio Iowa report.

Zach Wahls, a national spokesman for marriage equality, said at the event, “There’s some folks here who are trying to use our retention process to scare and intimidate Iowa judges and we can’t let that happen,” according to a YouTube video of his remarks.

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