Judicial Independence, Elections and Provocative Rulings

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In April of last year, the seven-member Supreme Court of Iowa effectively legalized same-sex marriage in a unanimous opinion.  Last week, three of the justices faced a retention election, and all three were thrown out by the voters. What's the message to other judges whose decisions might be unpopular? Has fundraising for judicial campaigns, which has doubled in ten years to $206 million nationwide, eroded voter confidence in judicial independence? Are judges the guardians of minority rights against public opinion or "legislators in robes" who should be accountable to the people?




Warren Olney


Katie Cooper, Sonya Geis