The Iowa Supreme Court has weathered a “perfect storm” of anti-judicial sentiment that began in 2010, says State Court Administrator David Boyd.
A controversial decision in 2009 concerning same-sex marriage was followed by state budget cuts that brought disruption to the court, the WCF Courier quoted Boyd as saying. In 2010, Chief Justice Marsha Ternus and Associate Judges Michael Streit and David Baker were ousted in a retention election.
Gov. Terry Branstad has since appointed three new justices, but a backlog of cases developed during the turnover period. Boyd says the court is now back on track.
“I think as an organization, we’ve made great strides. I think there’s a lot less angst than there was a few years ago,” he said.
Things continued to improve in 2012 when Justice David Wiggins withstood a negative, anti-retention campaign and maintained his place on the bench. Boyd says it was due to the work of the Iowa State Bar Association and judicial advocacy organizations.
“The way I view 2010, it was kind of like the perfect storm. I think there were a lot of people – at least those that talked to me – who just didn’t think it could happen and consequently maybe didn’t turn the ballot over and vote or didn’t talk to their family and friends,” Boyd said.