University of Denver

Ousted Iowa Justices Urge Business and Legal Communities to Preserve Independent Judiciary

Former Manager, Quality Judges Initiative

Speaking at the Colorado Judicial Institute’s Tenth Annual Judicial Excellence for Colorado dinner, former Iowa justices Marsha Ternus, David Baker, and Michael Streit stressed the importance to the business and legal communities of maintaining an independent judiciary. According to Justice Ternus, this is a critical factor for businesses in deciding where to locate, as they “want predictability and to know that the courts follow the facts of law, not the whims of special interest groups.” The justices described the well-organized, well-funded, and ultimately successful effort by conservative and evangelical groups in 2010 to vote them out in response to a unanimous 2009 decision recognizing a right to same-sex marriage under the state constitution—an effort that caught the state bar and the business community off-guard. Efforts to defend judicial independence were more successful in 2012, with the retention of Justice David Wiggins.