Many Iowans woke up Wednesday November 3, 2010 and turned on the news to see the results of the election they did not stay up for the night before. I did the same and was kind of surprised by what I saw. Chuck Grassley winning did not surprise me much, I expected him to win. Boswell winning as well was expected. Branstad winning governor was not too shocking either. The big shock for me and many Iowans was the getting rid of the three Iowa State Supreme Court Judges up for retention this year.
Iowa has had a retention option on the ballot since 1962, but has always retained all judges since then, according to CNN.com. So since there has always been a retention vote in the past, why was it such a big deal this election. A group of anti-homosexual marriage people led by Bob VanderPlatts was upset by the Supreme Court’s ruling last May that allowed same-sex marriage in Iowa. They believed this was the way to undo what has already been done.
This is not the case, in my opinion. Several people were very upset over the decision by Iowa voters to not allow the three Supreme Court judges back on the bench next session. Adam Lange, a senior at Grinnell College said on his facebook page in response to these events, “I'm most upset about judicial retention, IA has a proud history of civil rights, way to politicize an office which should not be political. . . Also, does no one realize that Branstad appointed two of the judges who were just voted out?”
Many people agree with Adam Lange. They believe this election may be the beginning of a downward spiral to politicizing the justice system. Many fear the justice system will begin to make unfair decisions based on who is willing to pay the most for their campaign to get elected as a judge.
On the other hand, according to LA Times this is among the most effective ways of avoiding a politicized judiciary. The judges face no opposing candidates and list no party affiliation. Voters just select ‘yes’ or ‘no’ based on certain rulings that may or may not be ‘hot-button issues’.