Gavel Grab

Ex-IA Justice: We Did Nothing Wrong

One of three Iowa Supreme Court justices dumped by voters in November says he believes the political campaign to oust them over a marriage ruling distorted the state courts’ appeals process.

“We didn’t take the law into our own hands,” former Justice Michael Streit said, according to an Eastern Iowa News report entitled, “Retention election came down to politics vs. law.”

“The court had a duty to interpret the constitution and uphold the law,” he said. “I don’t feel we did anything wrong. We had no politics involved.”

The former justice also warned that if judges face similar criticism for controversial rulings in the future, they likely will be forced to campaign for office. The Iowa justices were removed by voters angry over a unanimous court ruling that permitted same-sex marriage, following an ouster campaign led by social conservatives (for background, see Gavel Grab).

Former Justice Streit was the first of the three ousted justices to speak publicly, according to a Des Moines Register article. He addressed a forum at the University of Iowa College of Law.

According to a Radio Iowa report, the former judge read from lyrics of the Green Day song “American Idiot” to show his frustration. The lyrics state, “I’m not a part of a redneck agenda / Now everybody do the propaganda / And sing along to the age of paranoia. Don’t wanna be an American idiot / One nation controlled by the media / Information nation of hysteria / It’s going out to idiot America.”

In other dispatches from Iowa:

  • David  Cochran, a Loras College professor, was profiled in his role as a member of the screening commission that recently recommended nine finalists for the three new state Supreme Court openings. The Dubuque Telegraph Herald article was headlined, “‘Front-row seat’ to Iowa judicial controversy.”
  • A Des Moines Register article was entitled, “Clerk says she was fired for views on justices; Republican lawmaker says that’s not true.”

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