Judges Targeted by Right-Wing Groups
Tea Partyers and conservatives have set their sights on (what they might call) “liberal activist judges” who are up for review at the state level.
Certain states have what’s called “merit retention,” where voters can decide whether to keep or chuck the justices at the end of their terms. In some of those states, right-wing groups have been campaigning against the judges who didn’t quite vote their way.
In 2010, anti-gay group Iowans for Freedom poured money into a campaign to get rid of three Iowa Supreme Court justices. Other groups like the National Organization for Marriage were also heavily involved. The reason? Those judges, along with four others, had unanimously voted to strike down the state’s ban on gay marriage. They were successful. All three judges lost their seats.
This year, one of the remaining four judges, David Wiggins, has reached the end of his term, and faces opposition from the right.
Bob Vander Plaats, the conservative operative who helped spearhead the campaign in 2010, heads up Iowans for Freedom, which has been running a “No Wiggins” bus campaign across the state. A rival bus campaign has been touring in support of Wiggins — but Vander Plaats has managed to bring out Rick Santorum and Bobby Jindal to boost opposition. “Even if you don’t agree with my views on marriage, think of an unelected judiciary running roughshod over the Constitution,” Santorum said Monday.