For nearly 147 years, Iowans have depended on our state courts to protect our rights and rule on every case fairly and impartially, based solely on the facts and the law. Our judges swear an oath to uphold the Constitution, despite what popular opinion or politics dictate. They are an essential part of our democracy and provide a vital balance to the executive and legislative branches.
Iowa judges are routinely called upon to make difficult and sometimes controversial decisions. Iowans are fortunate that our judges are selected on the basis of merit after a rigorous process that evaluates their background, intellect and ethical standards. They are not elected politicians who cater to the concerns of special interest groups or pander to political partisans who pressure courts to rule a certain way.
The judicial retention vote is not a recall election or a referendum on the popularity of a judge’s decisions. Rather, it asks voters to answer whether the judge in question has been impartial in his or her rulings. Those who know the judges best were asked to review the judges, and the 1,500 Iowa lawyers who participated in the Judicial Performance Review in 2020 said the judges on the November ballot should be retained. Go to www.judicialfacts.org for information about Iowa’s merit selection process and the qualifications of the judges on the ballot. You can also view the results of the Judicial Performance Evaluation of all judges on the ballot done by Iowa attorneys.
Iowa’s judges should remain beyond the reach of special interest and political pressure so they can uphold our constitutional rights and the rule of law without fear of retaliation. Your vote to retain all of the judges on the ballot this November will help ensure that Iowa’s fair and impartial courts remain that way. Please turn your ballot over and vote “yes”.
David Helscher is the Iowa State Bar Association Board of Governors 7th Judicial District Representative.