The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) set its political bulls-eye on three Iowa Supreme Court justices who were part of the unanimous 2009 decision which found that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry. All three lost on Election Day.
This was a cruel and calculated warning shot to judges nationwide: Either rule according to our radical, anti-gay ideology or we'll come get you.
Please add your name to our open letter calling on U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts to condemn NOM and its allies – and declare that judges must not be intimidated into ruling based on biased special-interest politics.
You might also know that the three justices, who faced a barrage of television ads, refused to mount a counter attack because of the message it might send to litigants who appear before them. The judicial retention election, established in 1962, was designed to address gross misconduct, not punish judges for one ruling. In fact, only four other judges have lost their seats and, until last Tuesday, none of them from the state's highest court.
NOM's non-stop campaign made voters believe that ousting the justices would destroy same-sex marriage in Iowa. Of course, same-sex marriage remains law in Iowa and will not be impacted by whomever the new governor selects for the bench.
In fact, NOM admits its Iowa campaign had nothing to do with Iowa. This one judicial retention election, the organization said, would "send a clear signal to the Supreme Court and other judges that they don't have the right to make up the law out of thin air. If the people of Iowa... remove these judges, there will be reverberations throughout the country all the way to the United States Supreme Court."
This is clear intimidation meant to be heard hundreds and thousands of miles away from Waterloo, Des Moines or Dubuque. It's meant to shatter judicial independence everywhere.
The Iowa State Bar Association had determined that each of the three justices was "well qualified," meaning all three "avoid undue personal observations or criticisms [and they] decide cases on the basis of applicable law and fact, not affected by outside influence." This was nothing short of a political ambush on our courts.
NOM bludgeoned the very foundation of the American jurisprudence court system on Election night. We urge you to condemn the National Organization for Marriage and its allies for this type of dangerous and unprecedented attack on an independent judiciary. We ask you to remind Americans that a judiciary attacked and brought down by such biased politics threatens our very democracy.