Both Senator Tom Harkin and Roxanne Conlin, the Democrat who’s running for Iowa’s other U.S. Senate seat, offered their own defense of Iowa’s Supreme Court justices this weekend.
Three of the justices are the target of a campaign to vote them off the bench because of the court’s gay marriage ruling. Harkin and Conlin spoke at the Iowa Democratic Party’s Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner in Des Moines Saturday night, an event which began with the Des Moines Gay Men’s Chorus singing the National Anthem. The Democratic crowd cheered and applauded the group.
More than an hour later, Harkin spent about one-fifth of his speech talking about the Iowa Supreme Court, getting applause when he mentioned the court’s gay marriage ruling. Harkin listed several past actions by the court, including its 1873 decision which upheld the right of women to practice law in the state.
“I’m sure there were cranks at that time that probably thought the court was wrong and now there’s this group out of Tupelo, Mississippi. The American Family Association has come up here with hundreds of thousands of dollars…to get Iowans to vote no on retaining those three Supreme Court justices,” Harkin said. “I say to you, my friends, don’t let those people from Tupelo, Mississippi, make Iowa like Mississippi. Let’s keep those judges there.”
The crowd applauded Harkin, just as it did earlier in the evening when Conlin spoke about the court’s gay marriage ruling. “I was proud of Iowa and I was proud of them, so let’s keep ’em!” Conlin said. “Turn your ballot over and vote, ‘Yes’ to retain those courageous justices!”
Conlin is running against Republican Senator Chuck Grassley this fall. Conlin promises that if elected to the U.S. Senate, she’ll to vote to repeal the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy as well as the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
Listen to Conlin’s entire 15-minute speech: ConlinJJ
Listen to Harkin’s entire 20-minute speech: HarkinJJ