Election watchers who observed the role played by The Family Leader in Iowa’s judicial retention elections in 2010 and 2012 will note that the group remains active on the court front. A Des Moines Register editorial entitled “Family Leader Is Wrong to Try to Bully Judge” covers recent action by the group, led by conservative activist Bob Vander Plaats. A column in the same paper by columnist Rekha Basu takes aim at what it calls the group’s “vendetta campaign.”
According to the Register, The Family Leader refers to its part in a successful effort to unseat three Iowa Supreme Court Justices in 2010, in a direct threat against Polk County District Judge Karen Romano. A recent ruling by Romano holds up implementation of an Iowa Board of Medicine regulation on medication abortions.
In a statement headlined “Remember the Romano,” The Family Leader references the 2010 judicial retention election and warns, “Apparently Judge Romano has not learned a lesson from that vote. The Family Leader encourages Iowans to remember Judge Karen Romano’s activism when she is up for retention in November 2016.
In its editorial, the Register calls the statement a “pre-emptive attack on a judge” that “should not be tolerated in this state.”