One of the three justices who was voted off the Iowa Supreme Court in last year’s retention election says the process has been “distorted” by politics and may never be the same. Former Justice Michael Streit spoke last night  at a University of Iowa Law School forum.

He said the court’s controversial 2009 ruling on gay marriage followed the law, rather than the “weather-vane” of public opinion. “We read the law. We read the decision and we voted the way we did…,” Streit said last night. “Anyone with legal, intellectual integrity would have voted the same way.”

Streit read the lyrics of the Green Day song “American Idiot” to illustrate his frustration. The lyrics are: “I’m not a part of a redneck agenda / Now everybody do the propaganda / And sing along to the age of paranoia. Don’t wanna be an American idiot / One nation controlled by the media / Information nation of hysteria / It’s going out to idiot America.”

According to Streit, judges can’t sit back when they’re up for a retention vote in the future and will have to talk with Iowans about the role of a judge or justice. Streit says judges will have to start raising money and running an active campaign for retention if they are challenged like he was in last year’s election.

By Mark Geary, KCRG, Cedar Rapids