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Campaign to oust Iowa Supreme Court justice launched


This news story was published on August 12, 2012.
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Rod Boshart, CR Gazette –

DES MOINES — Conservative activist Bob Vander Plaats announced the launch of an effort Saturday to defeat Iowa Supreme Court Justice David Wiggins in the Nov. 6 judicial retention vote.

“This is about freedom, not just about marriage,” Vander Plaats said while unveiling Iowans for Freedom’s 2012 campaign. “We see this as a freedom and constitutional issue important to all Iowans. If courts are allowed to redefine the institution of marriage, every one of the liberties we hold dear is in jeopardy.”

Wiggins (pictured in front of Iowa Supreme Court in Des Moines) is one of four justices on the ballot, but is the only one who took part in a 2009 decision that led to the legalization of same-sex marriage in Iowa.

About 1,000 activists attended Saturday’s sold-out Family Leadership Summit at Point of Grace Church in Waukee. It was sponsored by The Family Leader, which Vander Plaats leads.

Brian Brown of the National Organization of Marriage pledged his group will match of up to $100,000 in contributions made in the next two weeks to help oust Wiggins.

Vander Plaats said Iowans for Freedom will reprise its 2010 effort, which succeeded in the defeats of then-Supreme Court Chief Justice Marsha Ternus and Justices Michael Streit and David Baker. All three were part of the 2009 decision.

“We will run a very focused and grassroots advocacy movement destined to produce similar or better results than the 2010 effort,” said Greg Baker, who will serve as the campaign’s executive director.

Campaign co-chair Tamara Scott said the effort had an advantage two years ago because mainstream political activists did not take the campaign seriously, but that won’t be the case this time around.

She said judicial branch officials already have launched a “dog and phony pony” tour of college campuses to “educate” Iowans about the court but she was confident Iowans would “vote with their hearts and their minds” again this November.

“I think last time we were somewhat underestimated. We knew it was a challenge. Never before in history had this been done. So I think many thought it was something noteworthy for the media but not likely to happen,” she said.

The pro-justices group Justice Not Politics issued a statement saying an Iowa State Bar Association survey issued last week indicated “every Supreme Court Justice on the November ballot is immensely qualified to continue their work preserving the rights and safety of all Iowans.”

“Supporters reject the vicious attacks from political extremists and value a fair court which protects the rights of every Iowa family,” the group said it announcing its “Champions of Justice” campaign. Supporters will spend the next three months trying to persuade voters to retain the justices.

Matt Sinovic of Progress Iowa, a member of the pro-justices coalition, said he expects there will be a strong grassroots effort to promote a fair and impartial court. The 2010 outcome “served as a wake-up call so people should be fired up this time around,” he said.

Wiggins ranked second-lowest among 75 Iowa judges in the bar association survey, with a score of 63.3 percent. Vander Plaats said that was a D minus, “even if you go to public school.”

The three other Supreme Court justices up for retention this year — Edward Mansfield, Thomas Waterman and Bruce Zager, whom Gov. Terry Branstad appointed to replace Ternus, Streit and Baker — each garnered retention support in excess of 90 percent.

“We’re not going after those three. We will know this effort is successful if we just vote out Wiggins but nobody else,” Vander Plaats said. “Iowans are intellectual, they’re savvy, they know what they’re doing. They voted out three, so I think Iowans this time will vote out Wiggins only.”

He likened this year’s effort to a state championship team trying to repeat, noting that “it’s awfully hard to go back and win the same state championship so we know this effort is going to be a little bit more difficult.”

Vander Plaats again called for the four justices who participated in the 2009 ruling and are still on the bench to step down. He said he doubted that would happen, though, because they continue to exhibit “a thread of judicial arrogance.”

National GOP figures in attendance

Family Leadership Summit participants heard from Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

Huckabee also filmed his FOX cable network television show from the Waukee church.

Perry drew applause and laughter when he jokingly told the 1,000 summit attendees: “I tell folks that my mouth may probably be the biggest reason I was the shortest-lived front-runner in the history of a presidential campaign. Y’ll remember that. I was the front-runner in the presidential campaign.”

He paused to add, “It was one of the most exhilarating three hours of my life.”

While in Iowa last week, Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz called the summit a collection of failed GOP candidates for president “who are all singing off the same song sheet and that song sheet is that we should make sure that people who are already doing very well can do even better. They have nothing to offer to Iowa voters.”

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20 Responses to Campaign to oust Iowa Supreme Court justice launched

  1. Katie Reply Report comment

    August 14, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    I am a fiscal conservative, but I fully support gay rights and Iowa Supreme Court’s ruling on their right to marry. It took a long time for me to overcome the church’s and my peer group’s brainwashing that most of us had in our youth. But as some of my childhood friends slowly came out of the closet, I realized there was no way I could reject them or treat them as second class citizens. They were the same nice people I had always known and they had the same rights as I did to fall in love, get married, and raise a family. They had far more heartache than anyone I knew dealing with family and friends who did reject them. Being gay is NOT a choice, but being a bigot IS.

  2. Observer Reply Report comment

    August 14, 2012 at 8:32 am

    The silence from some here makes me wonder if they had to call Mr. Vander Platts to get instructions on what to say next.

  3. Observer Reply Report comment

    August 13, 2012 at 8:44 am

    “You queer supporters will never make your perverted lifestyle the norm.”

    The subject at hand is not about what one thinks of gays or lesbians, and how or why you are offended about it.

    The question at hand is, did the Justices in reaching their decision, render judgement based upon the laws and our Constitutions of the case that was presented to them? In a Court of Law, that is all that counts. Popularity contests do not apply within judicial chambers. The only real opinion is one based upon the Law.

    In this case, the seven Justices said that under the Constitution, the Iowa law in question, took rights away from a group of people. Period.

    Take all your emotion and anger out of the issue, and look at it from a purely legal standpoint. The only reasonable conclusion is that you are supporting an injustice, and subjugating the Constitutional rights granted to everyone.

    My views are not what I believe right or wrong in a moral basis, but support for our laws and Constitution. And in that, I find the seven Justices of the Iowa Supreme Court did absolutely nothing that is outside the scope of their jobs.

  4. LVS Reply Report comment

    August 13, 2012 at 8:31 am

    I don’t know who is right and who is wrong on this issue. I know it makes me uncomfortable to watch men and women hugging and kissing eachother, but, what they do in their own homes doesn’t bother me at all. I also don’t like seeing so called straight people doing that in public. One thing I do know is that I do not support these religious goofballs trying to tell me or anyone else how to live. More wars have been fought with millions of people being killed (mostly innocents) just because some religious nut din’t like another religious nut. Don’t let these NUTS run our world. I don’t know if I will vote for this judge or not but if I do not it won’t be because Vander Plaats says so. The worst hipocrits in the world are religious zealots.

  5. Midwest Reply Report comment

    August 13, 2012 at 8:08 am

    If any of you think you will change others opinions I think your wrong. Just go out and vote the way you feel.

  6. Watchdog Reply Report comment

    August 13, 2012 at 7:37 am

    As an informed and educated Iowan, I will:

    Vote “NO” to retain Iowa Supreme Court Justice David Wiggins.

  7. Observer Reply Report comment

    August 12, 2012 at 6:59 pm

    “Iowa is the laughing stock of the whole country.”

    Yes, because it’s ill informed and poorly educated people removed qualified Justices of the Iowa Supreme Court from their jobs, because those voters have no idea what the Justices jobs are, what the laws really say, and based it upon a single issue.

    They were led like the proverbial sheep by Mr. Vander Platts, who would just assumed take us back to before 1860. That is because, he feels that some people are not equal to others. He feels they should be excluded from our life in the U.S. They are ‘different’ and thus, cannot share the liberties the rest of us do.

    What is his next target group? Who will be next? Will it be you because you do not attend his kind of church? Or pray to his God? Look at what he is willing to do to people now.

    • No Fear Reply Report comment

      August 12, 2012 at 8:53 pm

      You are right about Iowa being the laughing stock of the country.

      Only in Iowa can men have babies.

      You queer supporters will never make your perverted lifestyle the norm.

      I will be voting against any judge who thinks queering each other is normal.

  8. john Reply Report comment

    August 12, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    Vander Plaats is far from gay. What these Judges did was to ledgeislate from the bench, that is not their job. The DOMA law is still the law of the land in Iowa and what these judges did is not legal. Iowa is the laughing stock of the whole country.

    Vote him out as well.

    • John Reply Report comment

      August 12, 2012 at 5:06 pm

      sorry about they typo. Legislate.

    • Fornicacia Wiggins Reply Report comment

      August 12, 2012 at 5:08 pm

      John hates gays.

    • anonymous Reply Report comment

      August 12, 2012 at 5:24 pm

      Arrogant christains who think they own marriage. Divorce is a sin just as bad as homosexuality yet they let them marry and divorce as many times as they like. Hypocrites!

    • Observer Reply Report comment

      August 12, 2012 at 6:50 pm

      “What these Judges did was to ledgeislate from the bench, that is not their job.” [sic]

      No sir. It is obvious to me you did not read the Justices opinion, or any of the case material. Because if you had, it would have been clear that the seven Justices of the Iowa Supreme Court upheld both the Iowa, and the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection clause. You may not see gays as equal, but that is not how they should be treated under the law by the government.

      As far as the claim of “legislating from the bench”, again it is false. It is a further indication that you have no understanding of law you seem to claim. Since the prevailing party in Varnum v. Brien had claimed relief, the Justices found that relief to proper. Thus the offending statute was stricken in part, again as provided in the Iowa Constitution.

      “The DOMA law is still the law of the land in Iowa and what these judges did is not legal.”

      At issue in Varnum v. Brien was not DOMA. It had no bearing on the case at all. Neither the Prosecutor of Polk County, nor the Petitioners (Varnum et al) even argued it was. Therefore, it was not entered as an issue before the court, if indeed the court had standing to hear it.

      If you want a scapegoat or someone to fire, it would be the Polk County Prosecutor, because the case was lost due to the way he presented his case.

      And finally, what makes me laugh the most, is Mr. Vander Platts wanted to be the leader of our state, yet has has no clue about the basics of law and our Constitutions. And he thought he was qualified????

      • DaBearz Reply Report comment

        August 12, 2012 at 9:01 pm

        Observer: Thank you for the thoughtful and well reasoned response to this story line.

        I learned a great deal from your observations and appreciate how you always raise the bar and elevate the conversation to a mature level.

      • Matt Rezab Reply Report comment

        August 12, 2012 at 10:22 pm

        Come on man, I applaud your references but liberals and conservatives alike only complain about judges when they don’t agree with them. They only seem to be “activist judges” when they’re ruling on hot button topics.

      • Observer Reply Report comment

        August 14, 2012 at 5:36 pm

        Matt R.; I will not argue that point at all. A shame on both sides of the aisle. However, it would be nice if, for once, all sides understood and appreciated judicial retention is not a glamor contest or popularity contest.

        Such things should not be decided by a single court decision, but instead, on the merits of their records as Justices.

  9. Ruth Reply Report comment

    August 12, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    I heard vander is gay. Is he a y member?

  10. Super Anonymous Reply Report comment

    August 12, 2012 at 3:25 pm

    The Family Leader is an organization comprised of mostly homosexuals, still in the closet, portraying themselves as heterosexual homophobes. Vander Platts is the gayest man I have ever seen.

    • Grumpy man Reply Report comment

      August 12, 2012 at 3:49 pm

      The more anti gay they are… the gayer they REALLY are. It’s all smokescreen.

    • Anonymous Reply Report comment

      August 12, 2012 at 8:49 pm

      What is all this talk about homophobes?

      What is there to be scared of a bunch of queers?

      You pervs stay out of the Y please.