University of Denver

Iowa Supreme Court Battles to Keep Campaign Politics out of the Judiciary

IAALS Intern

The Iowa Supreme Court finds itself battling to maintain a fair and independent judiciary as a group of Iowans, now backed by the state's Republican party, intensify their campaign for the removal of Justice David Wiggins.

Justice Wiggins is one of the seven Iowa Supreme Court justices who unanimously overturned the state's same-sex marriage prohibition in 2009. Critics of the decision have already successfully removed three of the justices who were up for retention.

In an attempt to keep campaign politics out of Iowa's judicial merit selection system, Justice Wiggins, like his previously ousted colleagues, has refused to launch a retention campaign to fight his removal. Instead, Justice Wiggins has published an opinion piece sharing his personal background with voters and asking that they vote to retain him. Supporting Justice Wiggins' efforts to keep politics out of the judiciary, the Iowa State Bar Association plans to shadow Wiggins' critics campaign tour with their own tour which will promote retention and “respond to, and correct, misinformation about Iowa’s judicial system.”