Iowans Mobilizing Grassroots Effort to Vote to Retain Supreme Court Justices and Keep Politics Out of the Judicial Branch


Oct 13, 2010, 17:03 ET from Fair Courts For Us Committee

DES MOINES, Iowa, Oct. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- A group of Iowans, including former Republican Gov. Robert Ray, has launched a statewide grassroots organization to educate voters about the false claims being spread by outside special interest groups regarding Iowa's Supreme Court and judicial system.  The Fair Courts for Us Committee is bringing together citizens, community and civic leaders, and legal scholars who are urging Iowans to vote "yes" to retain the three Supreme Court justices on this fall's ballot.

"Iowans fought hard five decades ago to take politics out of the judiciary," Ray said. "As a result, the Iowa Supreme Court has issued countless rulings that protect Iowans with regard to a host of important issues such as individual property rights and keeping convicted sex offenders away from our children.

"Our system is far and away superior to those states where judges are elected every four years. That's why Fair Courts for Us is urging Iowans to take a stand and vote 'yes' to retain the justices and preserve our system of jurisprudence," Ray added.

Co-chairs for the committee are Sioux City attorney Dan Moore, a Republican, past-president of the Iowa State Bar Association, and former secretary and treasurer of the Vander Plaats for Governor campaign; former Iowa First Lady Christie Vilsack, a Democrat; and Carroll attorney Arthur Neu, a former Republican state senator, former lieutenant governor of Iowa and past member of the Iowa Board of Regents.

"As citizens, we charge the Supreme Court with making decisions based not on public opinion, but rather on what is just and legal according to the law and our state constitution," Moore explained. "When special interest groups try to deny Iowans their day in court because they disagree with specific rulings, they weaken the institution that we all rely on to protect our rights."

The attack groups are running big-budget ad campaigns and deliberately misleading the public about the law and the Supreme Court decision. The truth is that the Supreme Court performed its duty in determining whether the law enacted by the legislative branch and enforced by the executive branch violated the Iowa Constitution's equal protection principle.

"The groups attacking the Iowa Supreme Court today want to turn back the clock 50 years and politicize Iowa's judicial branch," Moore added. "Their motives center on one decision that they don't like, and their tactics are misleading with the intent to scare Iowa voters."

To avoid even the smallest perception of conflicts of interest, the Iowa Supreme Court justices do not campaign, and therefore must rely on Iowans to read the decision and research the issue. Fair Courts for Us is a grassroots effort founded to help educate the public about the advantages of Iowa's judicial merit selection system as well as the court decision that is drawing the criticism.

"Iowa has always been about independence, common sense and fairness," said Vilsack, a career educator and executive director of The Iowa Initiative. "More than ever, it's important for Iowans to understand what is really at stake here. Our court system is defined by a body of work and decisions based on a sense of fairness, the law and the constitution. The best way to show these special interest groups how wrong they are is to turn over the ballot and vote 'yes' to retain the Supreme Court justices and our independent, impartial judiciary."

The Fair Courts for Us Committee will educate voters through direct mail and other paid media and advertising.

"Iowa's judicial system is one of the best in the nation. To change it simply because some are unhappy about one decision would be foolish," Neu added. "Iowa's system has removed our judiciary from partisan politics in contrast to the federal system."

Those interested in supporting Fair Courts For Us can send contributions to Fair Courts for Us Committee, PO Box 6160, Des Moines, Iowa 50309. People can give on the web at:

SOURCE Fair Courts For Us Committee