A coalition that successfully campaigned against three Iowa Supreme Court justices in 2010 has reassembled, to work for the defeat of a fourth justice who joined in the court’s 2009 ruling that paved the way for same-sex marriage in Iowa.
The names of 75 Iowa judges and justices will be on November’s ballot in a retention election, but the target is Supreme Court Justice David Wiggins. Bob Vander Plaats was chairman of the “Iowans for Freedom” effort in 2010 that encouraged Iowans to vote three Iowa Supreme Court justices off the bench.
“I think a lot of different groups, organizations are going to rise up again,” Vander Plaats told reporters this afternoon.
Vander Plaats helped organize a day-long “Family Leadership Summit” and used the occasion to formally announce the effort to unseat Justice Wiggins.
“When you raise your hand and you swear an oath to the constitution and then you go outside of the constitution, outside of your separation of powers, to legislate from the bench, to execute from the bench, to amend the constitution from the bench — we, the people must hold a person like that in check,” Vander Plaats said. “And that’s why we’re going to say, ‘Vote no on Judge Wiggins.'”
Vander Plaats told reporters he expects Wiggins and his allies to wage a counter offensive.
“This will be a tougher campaign,” Vander Plaats said. “…After you win a state championship, it’s awfully hard to go back and win the same state championship, so we know this effort’s going to be a little bit more difficult.”
This past week the Iowa State Bar Association urged Iowans to vote “yes” on all the judges and justices on the ballot — and the Sioux City lawyer who’s president of the group said it was wrong for judges to be the subject of “political pressures.” Vander Plaats offered this rebuttal today.
“What you’re going to hear a lot is that we are inserting politics into the judiciary. Nothing could be further from the truth,” Vander Plaats said. “What we are trying to do is remove politics from the judiciary.”
Groups that will support Justice Wiggins in the retention election issued written statements on Friday. One Iowa — a group that supports same-sex marrige — said Iowans “need leaders who fight injustice and embrace equality.” A former Republican state senator who formed a group called “Iowa Republicans for Freedom” denounced the effort to unseat Wiggins and “divide our neighbors against each other.”
AUDIO of Vander Plaats’ announcement