Recall of Pro Marriage Equality Judge May Boost Romney Vote in Iowa
A recent article by the conservative magazine the National Review suggests an Iowan Supreme Court judge could play a pivotal role in whether or not Mitt Romney is elected as president on November 6.
When Iowan voters flock to the ballots next week, they will not only determine who becomes the next president of the United States but also if David Wiggins will continue to serve on the state's Supreme Court. The publication suggests that since Wiggins voted for marriage equality in the Hawkeye State, voting whether or not to remove him from the court may bring "otherwise unmotivated conservative voters" to the polls.
The recall might bring enough conservative Iowans to the polls who otherwise might have sat out the election because of Romney's perceived centric political views (and possibly his Mormon religion, anathema to many in a state populated largely by Protestants).
The National Review gave a best-case (for the Right, anyway) scenario in which these voters tilt the state's electoral votes toward the GOP ticket. Most polls and pundits have been predicting that Romney would not win Iowa. But, the National Review article suggests, he is within striking distance of President Barack Obama, by just two points, according to the Real Clear Politics average.
In 2009, the Iowa Supreme Court unanimously ruled against a measure that banned same-sex marriage, including Wiggins, who has been on the Iowa Supreme Court since 2003. Since then, there has been a fierce backlash among the state's right wing and Christian right.
They are furious that Iowa has become the first state in the American heartland to allow same-sex marriage. They claim the judges "overstepped their constitutional bounds and deserve to be thrown out," the article points out.
If Wiggins is voted out, he won't be the first.
Iowa has an election-based judicial system where every eight years justices can be removed. In 2010, three of the seven Supreme Court judges were voted out. The CEO of the Family Leader, a local social-conservative organization, believes that Wiggins will be kicked off the bench and that it will help Romney win Iowa.
"We believe that the focus on Justice Wiggins motivates and inspires all freedom-loving Iowans to go to the polls," Vander Plaats told the National Review, "whether they are interested in private property, religious liberty, the Second Amendment, parental rights, or the definition of marriage." He added "when freedom-loving Iowans go to the polls, it will benefit Mitt Romney."
For years, judicial oversight groups have condemned popular voting for judges and especially the "opt-out" voters have for judges whose decisions they abhor. They believe that such a situation compromises an independent judiciary. Furthermore, they maintain that it intimidates judges from making decisions that may be unpopular, but fair and true to the spirit of the U.S. Constitution.