No matter your political leanings in this highly-divided world, there is one thing all Iowans should agree on: We don’t need politics in our courts. Iowans depend on the courts to rule fairly and impartially.
Iowa judges are routinely called upon to make difficult and sometimes controversial decisions. Judges are not, however, politicians who cater to the concerns of special interest groups, donors, or pander to political partisans who pressure them to rule a certain way. Iowans are fortunate our state constitution provides that Iowa judges are to be selected on merit, after a rigorous process that evaluates their background, knowledge of law and ethics.
A judicial retention vote should not be a referendum on the popularity of a judge’s decisions. If we vote “no” simply because we disagree with a decision of a judge, or because we align with a political party not in power when the judge was appointed, we unfairly politicize our court system. A retention election very simply asks whether the judge has done his or her job with competency and integrity.
We urge all Iowa voters to visit www.judicialfacts.org for information about Iowa’s merit selection process and the qualifications of the judges and justices on the 2020 ballot. A performance evaluation by the attorneys who appear before the judges and justices is available on the website. All Iowa judges and justices on the ballot this year scored high marks. Vote “yes” to retain the justices and judges.
Jerry Schnurr III
President, Iowa State Bar Association
Chair, ISBA Fair and Impartial Courts Committee