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ERIC Number: EJ920880
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Mar-31
Pages: 3
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1557-5411
Court of Public Opinion
Oguntoyinbo, Lekan
Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, v28 n4 p13-15 Mar 2011
It was late on Election Day 2010 and Vander Plaats, a Sioux City, Iowa, businessman and leader of a campaign to oust three Iowa Supreme Court justices, had just gotten word that he and his team had pulled it off. The voters had rejected the three justices up for a retention vote: David Baker, Michael Streit, and Chief Justice Marsha Ternus. Elected officials know they are vulnerable to the whims of irate voters. But in many states, high court judges are elected officials, too. While governors may make the initial appointments in some states, those judges more often than not still have to come before the voters in order to retain their seats on the bench. The result is that, in many jurisdictions, judges, whose professional obligation is to adhere to the law, must also weigh the political consequences of their decisions. In some instances, a legally correct but unpopular opinion can spell the end of a judge's career. So when Iowa voters kicked the three justices out of office, it sent some shudders through the legal community and rekindled a long-simmering debate about the best system for picking and retaining judges. It also had many asking what truth and justice actually mean for society's most vulnerable members. Mary Celeste, president of the American Judges Association, acknowledges minority concerns about election-influenced judicial decisions, but she maintains that ethical and legal considerations come first for most judges. While the experts remain divided over the best method for selecting local and state judges, they agree on that much.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California; Iowa