November 3, 2010
3 Justices Booted in Iowa after Same-sex Marriage Ruling
In Iowa, voters spoke on gay marriage, but not through a ballot measure. Iowa voters ousted three Supreme Court members who legalized gay marriage in 2009. Chief justice Marsha Ternus and justices David Baker and Michael Streit lost their bids to stay on the state's highest court.
Conservative groups rallied Iowa voters to vote the judges out of their seats this year in response to their decision last year. “Kicking out those three justices would be a warning shot across the judiciary's bow,” said Drake University political science professor Dennis Goldford.
Iowa is one of a dozen states that uses the "Missouri Plan" for judicial selection. Justices are nominated by a nonpartisan commission based on merit. The Governor then makes an appointment. However, the justices seek reelection at the end of their terms to retain their place on the bench. They do not face an opponent. It is an up or down vote on the justice.
Justices in states with a Missouri Plan rarely face defeat. But in this election, the retention vote was a referendum on the Court's marriage ruling. Tonight, Iowa voters gave the justices a thumbs down.