State Supreme Court Justices Facing Tough Call on Campaigning

September 19, 2012

Writing in the Des Moines Register, Iowa Supreme Court Justice David Wiggins expressed admiration for the work of the Court, gratitude for his tenure on the bench, and the desire to prevent political campaigns from corrupting the Iowa judicial branch. Instead of launching his own campaign to fight back against the effort to remove him, Justice Wiggins affirmed his belief that politicizing the courts leads to outcome-motivated judges who hold themselves accountable to donors and critics instead of the constitution and the law. The three Iowa Supreme Court justices who were not retained in 2010 did not raise any campaign funds to defend themselves either.

Similarly, Florida State Supreme Court Justice Peggy Quince is facing a campaign against her retention. Tampa Bay Online reports that while Quince and two fellow justices facing the merit retention election have launched a campaign to stay on the bench, doing so makes Quince “uncomfortable.” She admits that having to do so is a distraction from their judicial duties that they didn’t have to deal with in two prior elections.