The Long Arm of the Voter

I don’t feel like there’s much need to say anything about the elections yesterday.  But the one thing I did think was interesting was a story out of Iowa that I’m guessing won’t get a lot of press coverage.  Votes to retain or dismiss appointed judges rarely merit a lot of press.  I can’t think of many times that I’ve even known who the judges are when their names appear on the ballots.

Iowans think differently though.  Because last year, the Iowa Supreme Court stunned all sorts of folks when it ruled that barring same-sex marriages violated the state’s constitution, opening the door to same-sex marriages in the traditionally conservative mid-west.  It seemed a stunning decision literally out of left field to rewrite history, society, and culture – all based on the decisions of seven people.
Yesterday, three of those people lost their jobs.  All three of the Iowa Supreme Court judges up for retention votes failed to receive the simple majority required to retain their seats.  The other four justices will be up for retention votes in 2012 and 2016, respectively.  The judges serve staggered eight-year terms.  
It’s funny to read the terminology in this article of money being “poured” in to lobby against these justices’ retention.  $650,000 is a paltry sum of money in the world of politics, even if it is more than three times the amount spent to lobby for their retention.  I also think it’s interesting how the article plays up the role of out-of-state support, without specifying if this support was in moral support (pun intended) or actual dollars.  In a single sentence the article seems to remove the importance of the fact that Iowans voted, and places the importance on the money spent and it’s sources.
In California, one contender for the governorship spent over $150 million dollars of her own money on her campaign.  She still lost.  Money is indeed a critical element in politics, unfortunately.  But it isn’t equivalent to the will of the voters, nor is it a guarantee of success.  I like to think that Iowans rejected the justices not just because of outside support, but because they themselves recognized that the actions of the justices were patently out of step with reality.  It’s a good reminder to judges that there is accountability for their actions.  And it’s a good reminder to voters that we do not have to simply sit meekly by and accept the audacious and radical changes being shoved down our throats by a screaming media juggernaut.  

One Response to “The Long Arm of the Voter”

  1. crisssurfer Says:

    some text for testing

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