NYT: That Vote Firing Three Iowa Justices Is Terrible, But We Should Emulate Their System (And Other Scattered Items Regarding the Iowa Supreme Court Elections)
[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; send your tips here.]
I discussed this over a week ago but the fallout keeps, well, falling. Last week three of Justices serving on Iowa’s Supreme Court were booted out of office, apparently over their decision declaring a constitutional right to gay marriage. So, for starters, this editorial from the NYT called A Blow to the Courts on the Iowa Supreme Court retention election is mostly exactly what you would expect, saying for instance that
What made the Iowa outcome even more demoralizing is that this was a retention election — one that asks for a simple yes-or-no vote on whether to grant judges another term. These elections are supposed to spare sitting judges from competing in multicandidate contests, making the process as apolitical as possible. It didn’t work that way this year in Iowa, or in many other states.
Right. One is tempted to say it is hypocritical to say it was political of the voters to vote them out of office, but it was not at all political to pull a brand new right out of their keisters. But really are we surprised by this, either?
But the funny thing is that they then praise the outcome of a straight judicial election in Illinois, ending by saying
This year’s campaign is one more reminder of why the 39 states that hold judicial elections should scrap them in favor of merit screening and appointment of judges for a long fixed term.
In other words, they are happy with the Illinois result, and dismayed by the Iowa result, so… states should be more like Iowa? Huh?
And the commentary on the election gets even dumber over at Proposition 8 Trial Tracker, when Rob Tisinai denounces the organization that campaigned against the Iowa judges (the National Organization for Marriage or NOM) as “[t]he people your (Founding) Fathers warned you about.” He explains that sure, the founders would be shocked by rulings in favor of gay marriage