The Iowa Supreme Court’s chief justice is declining to comment publicly on the handful of 19-year-olds who a deputy says were drinking at a bonfire on her property.
The chief justice’s husband was cited for interference with official acts. The deputy sheriff who investigated the complaint about a loud party in rural Grimes has said he did not see the chief justice and doesn’t know if she was home at the time. Governor Chet Culver doesn’t know either.
"I do not have any of the details related to that incident," Culver told reporters today.
Former Governor Terry Branstad appointed Marsha Ternus to the Iowa Supreme Court in 1993. She became chief justice in 2006, based on a voter of her fellow justices. Governor Culver does not intend to ask Ternus about the drinking incident on her property.
"I believe if it involved our Department of Public Safety — if it raised to that level — it would make sense, but it has not," Culver said. "So it is a local issue with the local law enforcement officials and our state Department of Public Safety has not been involved."
A Republican candidate for governor today said Iowans should use their power in the judicial retention elections in November, 2010 to vote to remove Ternus from the court. Representative Rod Roberts, though, objects to Ternus’ role in the decision which legalized gay marriage in Iowa and was not commenting on the underage drinking party at her home.