The Iowa State Bar Association is recommending that voters retain all 63 Iowa judges and three state Supreme Court justices who will be on the ballot in November.
Iowa voters do not decide between two candidates when it comes to judges — they are simply asked to vote on whether a judge or justice should remain on the bench. The state bar association survey of its members was administrated by a committee led by attorney Guy Cook.
“Lawyers are asked to rate judges and justices on knowledge of the law, temperament and demeanor. Promptness of rulings. Whether the judge or justice avoids personal observations. Decides cases on the law and the facts. Not by outside influence. And is courteous and patient with litigants. And treats people fairly,” Cook says.
Cook says nearly 1,500 attorneys were surveyed to compile the rating for judges. “You have people who really know the process and interact with these judges on a daily basis. And have the information necessary to rate them. As opposed to some anecdotal story, something people have read in the news,” Cook says.
Cook says the lowest score a judge could have and still get the Bar Association’s recommendation is 51 percent. None on this year’s judges rated below a 68. Judicial elections had been an afterthought for voters until 2010 when three state Supreme Court justices were voted off the bench following their vote for the controversial ruling that overturned Iowa law and legalized same-sex marriage in the state.
You can find out more information about the professional qualifications and background of every judge on the November 8th retention ballot at the Iowa Judicial Branch website. There is also a link there to the Iowa State Bar Association recommendations.
Thanks to Sarah Boden, Iowa Public Radio