Sunday, November 14, 2010

They threw those bums out!

Iowa's voters were angry and lashing out Nov. 2. They saw a problem --- "activist" judges --- and they did what any angry citizen would do, voted their elected officials out of office. Only, Iowa's judges are not elected. That makes it one of the better systems for putting judges on the bench in the country. That is also what made this a bad situation in which to vote "no" on the three Iowa Supreme Court justices' retention. Now Gov.-elect Terry Branstad will pick three replacements from a slate of nine nominees forwarded to him by a 15-member commission. In other words, he has no control over the group of people from which he will choose. Branstad may find three people among those nominees whom he believes meet his criteria for the Supreme Court. However, Chief Justice Marsha Ternus was appointed by Branstad during a prior term and is now leaving the position because of the court's unanimous vote striking down the Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional, making gay marriage legal in Iowa. Opponents of this decision would do better to pursue an amendment to the state's Constitution. That, of course, will take more time and much more political will. Can opponents muster enough voter anger for a long enough time to make that happen? If not, they can always keep campaigning to vote offending judges out.

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