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Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Courts - "Voters retain Iowa Justice David Wiggins" [Updated]

From the DesMoines Register, Jeff Eckhoff reports:

Voters retained Justice David Wiggins on the Iowa Supreme Court, following a heated campaign to remove him from the bench.

Wiggins, 61, needed a simple majority of votes to stay on high court. With 83 percent of Iowa’s 1,689 precincts reported, Wiggins had 54 percent. * * *

A narrow victory for Wiggins immediately raises questions about what will happen in four years when the final three participants in a landmark 2009 court case will face voters. Chief Justice Mark Cady and Justices Daryl Hecht and Brent Appel are up for retention votes in 2016.

Wiggins’ supporters had hoped for a decisive victory that would end political challenges to Iowa judges.

Wiggins was the fourth Iowa Supreme Court justice to stand for a retention vote since seven justices unanimously ruled to legalize same-sex marriage in 2009.

The three former justices — Marsha Ternus, David Baker and Michael Streit — were ousted in 2010 after socially conservative Iowans, backed by cash from out-of-state conservative groups, successfully convinced voters that the same-sex marriage decision was grounds for dismissal. It was the first time since 1962, when Iowa adopted the merit-selection process, that a justice was not retained.

ILB observation: The clue to the answer to "what will happen in four years when the final three participants in a landmark 2009 court case will face voters" may perhaps be found in these Huffington Post interactive results from four states where gay marriage was on the ballot yesterday. They include another midwest state, Minnesota, where voters failed to enact a constitutional amendment to deny same-sex couples the right to marry. By 2016 perhaps this attitudinal change will have reached even Indiana.

[Updated at 10:45 AM] See also this long WSJ article by Geoffrey A. Fowler this morning headed "Gay Marriage Gets First Ballot Wins." A few quotes:

Americans for the first time approved gay marriage at the ballot box on Tuesday, pointing to changing attitudes on the divisive issue.

In Maine and Maryland, voters approved ballot initiatives to begin allowing same-sex unions. Those wins mark a first for a cause that had previously been rejected by voters in more than 30 states, including as recently as 2009 in Maine.

And in Minnesota, where gay marriage is already not allowed, voters declined to back an initiative that would enshrine in the state's constitution a definition of marriage permitting only a union between a man and woman.

In Washington state, where voters also weighed an initiative to legalize gay marriage, the vote count was expected to stretch on for days. With half of the vote counted as of 3 a.m. Eastern time, nearly 52% supported the idea.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on November 7, 2012 09:47 AM
Posted to Courts in general