Lawyers responding to an Iowa State Bar Association survey found all 75 judges and justices up for retention votes this year to be worthy of staying on the bench.
Bar Association President Cynthia Moser said the survey reflected endorsement of most judges with an average 90 percent approval rate, according to a Des Moines Register article.
Justice David Wiggins of the Iowa Supreme Court, who recently was targeted by the Iowa GOP chair for defeat in the up-or-down election this fall, received a rating of 63.3 percent. It was the second-lowest approval rating for any judge or justice in the 2012 Judicial Performance Review.
“I appreciate the support of The Iowa State Bar Association. I am proud of my work in writing opinions and helping resolve the issues that are brought before the court,” Justice Wiggins said, according to a KCCI News report.
Justice Wiggins joined a unanimous and highly controversial court decision in 2009 that allowed same-sex couples to marry. According to Bar President Moser, controversy over that decision “may have played a role in the responses” for Justice Wiggins.
Justice Not Politics, a nonpartisan group, judged it “clear (that every Supreme Court Justice on the November ballot is immensely qualified to continue their work preserving the rights and safety of all Iowans.” Three other justices on the ballot were appointed after voters removed three of Justice Wiggins’s colleagues from the bench in an historic 2010 retention election; the three newest justices had ratings of between 93.9 percent and 95.6 percent.
“Justice Wiggins garnered a clear majority of support from Iowa lawyers,” Justice Not Politics said in an email. “Supporters reject the vicious attacks from political extremists and value a fair court which protects the rights of every Iowa family.”